16 November 2023 at 11:00 am

Auckland hosts Voice of The Oceans round the world expedition

New Zealand alumni David Schurmann was inspired by the ecological awareness of Kiwis to create international initiative combatting plastic pollution.

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Voice of the Oceans sails into Auckland at the end of the first leg of its round the world expedition highlighting the plight of the world’s oceans. Photo credit Warren Green.

Just over two years after leaving Brazil on the sailboat KAT to sail around the world, the Voice of The Oceans (VOO) initiative arrived in Auckland, New Zealand, at the beginning of November. 

One of the initiative's leaders, David Schurmann, is an alumni from New Zealand – he studied Cinema at Auckland University of Technology (AUT) and at the South Seas Film & Television School in the 1990s. And since then, he was inspired by the ecological awareness of Kiwis. Throughout his career as a filmmaker, in addition to fiction films, David produced documentaries about the importance of preserving the environment. 

Eloisa and David Schurmann at Viaduct Harbour in front of the Voice of the Oceans sailboat KAT. Photo credit @annupam @withjane

VOO’s mission is to examine and record the environmental state of the oceans including plastic pollution so that this data can raise awareness and inform education, science, and innovation that improves the health of our oceans. It has the global support of the United Nations Environment Programme. 

The VOO arrived in Auckland to mark the end of the first stage of their journey, after traveling for two years and visiting more than 100 destinations, recording the levels of plastic pollution they see as they go. 

The arrival in Auckland featured the event “Brazil and New Zealand: Sustainability & Innovation” – guest panelists discussed how their businesses are innovating in the sustainable space. The event was organised by the Latin America New Zealand Business Council (LANZBC), the leading organisation focused on promoting business growth opportunities and collaborations in Latin America. Support for the event was provided by Education New Zealand Manapou ki te AO (ENZ), the Latin America Center of Asia Pacific Excellence (CAPES), and Viaduct Harbor Holdings (VHH). 

Host and panellists at the at the Brazil and New Zealand: Sustainability & Innovation event included from left to right Guiliana Silveira, LANZBC CEO, Heloisa Schurmann, VOO, David Schurmann, VOO, Colum Rice, Mint Innovation, Phil Matheson, BioFab, Rachel Williams, Viva Expeditions Ltd , and Dhanya Herath, Climate Club. Photo credit @annupam @withjane

David and the VOO crew. Photo credit @annupam @withjane

Giuliana Silveira, CEO Latin America New Zealand Business Council (LANZBC) said that it was a privilege to work with Voice of the Oceans and these amazing NZ businesses to showcase what each of them is doing to innovate in the sustainability sector.  

We have to join forces to fight the climate crisis. We hope events, such as this, help to raise awareness and create a dialogue within the business and education communities to share our kaitiakitanga responsibilities," said Guiliana.  

Following the panel discussion, attendees had the opportunity to mingle with the VOO crew and panelists. Photo credit @annupam @withjane

Wendy Kerr, ENZ’s General Manager Sector Engagement, and Ed Tuari, ENZ’s Manukura – Chief Advisor Maori, with David Schurmann, VOO during the event which was supported by ENZ along with the Latin America Center of Asia Pacific Excellence and Viaduct Harbor Holdings. The Latin America New Zealand Business Council organised and hosted the event.

Part of the arrival programme, also included over 70 children from Stanley Bay Primary School joining an environmental afternoon with talks by the Voice of The Oceans crew about the importance of taking care of the marine environment. 

Eloisa Schurmann talks to the Stanley Bay School children about the importance of taking care of the ocean. Photo credit @annupam @withjane

As part of the sustainability tour, the children from Stanley Bay School were taken to the Viaduct Harbour Marina to view the sailboat Kat. Photo credit @annupam @withjane

It's always a special moment to be back in New Zealand! We have a very close relationship with this country, which has been an important stop on all our major expeditions. My youngest sister Kat was born here, and I decided to stay in New Zealand during my families first expedition around the world, to study film making and start my career as a director”, said David Schurmann at the events in Auckland. 

The VOO crew will spend the next few months in New Zealand to raise awareness about the state of Earth’s oceans before setting sail again to continue their trip around the world. 

More information on VOO and their expedition can be found here - Voice of the Ocean - we turn people's attention to the ocean.

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