NZCT Stands Up For Auckland Paddle Boarders

“The giant paddle boards are so massive all my friends can paddle and do manus and snorkle!” ........ “They are my favourite because I like to paddle and my friend likes to swim, but I don’t, so we can both be in the same group and be on the water and she can jump in and get wet and I can stay dry!” ...... “They are super heavy and big, but it’s worth it ‘cause we all can fit on and run and jump off and snorkel over the reef and see all the fish and eels and sharks!”
Kids on Paddleboards at the Sir Peter Blake Marine Education and Recreation Centre (MERC)

These are just a few reactions from the kids connecting with the ocean on XL Paddleboards with Sir Peter Blake Marine Education and Recreation Centre (MERC). The news that NZCT has granted $20,000 to the Sir Peter Blake Marine Education and Recreation Centre (MERC) towards twelve new stand-up inflatable paddle boards and four XL SUPs, including leashes and paddles, has been welcomed.

MERC Grants Co-ordinator Julie Burton says, “Stand-up paddle boarding has become an extremely popular activity. Our fleet of 10 paddle boards and two XLSUPs are used to provide many groups with the opportunity to learn about water safety, develop coordination skills, enjoy themselves and have fun. They are ideal for beginners.”

“Such is their popularity, the wear and tear associated with the high demand is high. NZCT’s support will mean we can look at retiring ones that are no longer fit for purpose. Additionally, with the ability to have more, we are able to transport them to places and communities who are yet to experience the ocean in that way. This will allow us to meet the demands of larger groups and provide more New Zealanders with this valuable experience in a safe and engaging learning environment.”

“MERC’s primary target group is Intermediate school kids who are at a particularly impressionable age. If positive marine experiences and strong role model instructors can be presented to them, we will all reap the benefits of having more and better-educated citizens armed with a solid respect and understanding of our oceans.”

“These boards will provide safe paddle-boarding sessions for everyone. Stand-up paddle boarding keeps people active and engaged, while the XL SUPs are amazing for team building as students learn to work together”

“Water safety is also a huge priority at MERC and a constant feature of our deliveries. Statistics show preventable drownings are high. The paddle boards provide a platform to learn how to safely recreate in and on the water. This will have a significant impact on their water safety knowledge, which they can share with their family, friends, and whanau, thus benefiting the wider community by being water safe”
MERC Grants Co-ordinator Julie Burton


Since 1990 MERC has provided professional marine experiences for hundreds of thousands of school children. The majority of New Zealanders live within minutes of our coasts. Despite this, many New Zealanders have never been to the coast, have limited experience or understanding of the marine environment and, as a consequence, have not developed marine environmental awareness and ethics.

MERC’s mission is to provide life-changing marine environmental education and outdoor experiences for young New Zealanders. MERC currently serves approximately 16,000 people through school groups and communities annually through overnight and day visits, school camps and community events.