Ōkahu Bay Restoration Project

Project Purpose: The Ōkahu Bay Restoration Project is being undertaken by Ngāti Whātua ki Ōrākei and is an all-encompassing restoration project. Ngāti Whātua ki Ōrākei are working with The University of Auckland, Auckland City and NIWA. The first phase is determining baseline and historical conditions of Ōkahu Bay and compiling the information into a GIS database. Phase One will comprise many strands including hui to determine mātauranga and scientific analysis of kaimoana (biodiversity, population, spatial parameter), water quality, sediment testing. Ultimately we plan to undertake a Mauri Model Analysis in order to create a roadmap for restoration. A research team at The University of Auckland comprising Dr Dan Hikuroa, Brendan Dunphy (marine biology), Dr Kepa Morgan (engineer) and Michael Steedman (kaiarahi, Faculty of Science) has been formed to work with Ngāti Whātua to address the many strands of phase one listed above. The purpose of this internship is to undertake the sediment analysis component of Phase One and provide the information to the student undertaking the GIS database collation and compilation. Specifically they will analyse:

i. Grain size
ii. Percentage sand/mud/silt
iii. Determine temporal changes to grainsize
iv. Heavy metal contaminants
v. Organic content

More parameters may be added to this list after discussion with Ngāti Whātua ki Ōrākei.

The programme of work to be carried out:

  1. 1. Meet with Ngāti Whātua ki Ōrākei and other interns (Week 1) 2. Plan fieldwork (Week 1) 3. Determine sampling sites and methodology (Week 2) 4. Undertake fieldwork (weeks 2 – 3) 5. Laboratory analysis (Weeks 4 – 6) 6. Data analysis (Weeks 7– 8) 7. Report writing (Weeks 9 – 10)

Day to day nature of the work: The intern will:

  1. Meet with the Ngāti Whātua Ōkahu Restoration Project (OBRP) team and other Faculty of Science interns
  2. Plan fieldwork working with OBRP and supervisor, considering vehicle access and tides
  3. Plan sampling methodology – determine sites and sampling methodology (i.e. d-section and/or vibro-coring techniques) and OSH issues, and determine field hazards
  4. Undertake fieldwork – taking sediment cores
  5. Undertake laboratory work – using The School of Environment sedimentology and geochemistry labs
  6. Conduct data analysis – taking raw data and analysing it, determining errors, displaying data
  7. Carry out report writing.

Skills the student will learn:

  1. Critical thinking, collating and analysing information from a range of sources
  2. Creative thinking – planning a field methodology that will answer the research question
  3. Field techniques – gathering the data will require learning how to use various apparatus
  4. Communication skills – working with a community and the other student interns.