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Thursday February 22, 2018

Mural to highlight ocean’s ‘forests’

Tam Kogler, of Island Bay, next to her seaweed mural installation at Whairepo Lagoon. PHOTO: Supplied By Jamie Adams

A desire to educate the public about the importance of seaweed to the sustainability of Wellington’s marine life has led to the installation of a new mural at Whairepo Lagoon in Frank Kitts Park. Called Gardens and Forests of the Sea, the mural was a collaboration of artist Tam Kogler and the Wellington Underwater Club, a dive club that promotes a healthy marine environment. “We wanted to bring up what we see under the water,” WUC president Nicole Miller says. “By creating the seaweed mural in the heart of Wellington we are highlighting the important role of seaweeds in the marine environment, and what everyone can do to protect them.” She says Wellington Harbour right the way round to Evans Bay and Shelly Bay has some “amazing seaweed”. “We are very lucky in Wellington to be able to enjoy such diverse marine life.

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“Not everyone is able to get underwater, so we are thrilled to be able to give people a glimpse of what we see, without even getting their feet wet.” Tam says she was inspired to produce the artwork due to seaweed’s similarity to forests. “If forests are the lungs of the land, then marine plants are the lungs of the ocean,” she says. Nicole says seaweed provides shelter and food for many species such as juvenile fish, octopuses and seahorses. Like plants on land, seaweeds grow using sunlight to convert carbon dioxide and nutrients to biomass, and their absorption of the carbon dioxide helps to mitigate ocean acidification. “Over 70 percent of the oxygen we breathe is produced by marine plants and algae as a side product during photosynthesis.” The mural will be on display for “two or three months” and the club hopes to install more murals of a similar theme in the future.

Pokies harming communities, says Sallies New Zealanders who use slot machines or “pokies” are being harmed through the targeting of vulnerable communities and machines deliberately designed to entice harmful gambling behaviour, The Salvation Army says. The latest figures from the Department of Internal Affairs show $870 million was spent on pokies last year—increasing for the third year in a row despite there being fewer machines. This continues a trend of increasing spend on pokies since 2014, driven in part by their destructive design features, The Salvation Army’s head of Addiction Services Lieutenant

Colonel Lynette Hutson says. “The design of these machines is highly sophisticated and uses machine and game characteristics to encourage risky gambling behaviour. “Research shows the number of people gambling is reducing, but the number gambling harmfully remains stable and it is suggested this may be due to changes in the design of pokie machines.” The department’s figures show only a third of money spent on pokies was returned to the community through gaming machine trusts last year, she adds.

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Cook Strait News 22-02-18  

Cook Strait News 22-02-18

Cook Strait News 22-02-18  

Cook Strait News 22-02-18