What's special about the gulf?

SOCIAL SCIENCE: Rebecca Jarvis’s PhD research aims to find better ways of incorporating people’s environmental values into decision-making.
SOCIAL SCIENCE: Rebecca Jarvis’s PhD research aims to find better ways of incorporating people’s environmental values into decision-making.

Giving Aucklanders the chance to say what they love about the Hauraki Gulf is close to the heart of a PhD student's work.

AUT student Rebecca Jarvis has designed a survey to help Aucklanders shape the future of the 1.2 million hectare Hauraki Gulf Marine Park.

Using an interactive map of the Hauraki Gulf, people can zoom-in and mark their favourite spots letting surveyors know what they're used for and why they're special.

The avid snorkel and scuba diver, who "absolutely loves the Hauraki Gulf" designed the questionnaire for the university's Institute of Applied Ecology New Zealand.

The institute is working with national and local government agencies including the Auckland Council to develop a new spatial plan for the Hauraki Gulf.

Ms Jarvis, who has a master's degree in conservation management and is two thirds through her PhD discovered the Auckland Council was interested in researching the same field.

"What is really, really important is investigating the human and social elements of conservation and how better to integrate value-based information into decision-making," she says.

Running until April 21, the website has already had "hundreds" of hits, Ms Jarvis says.

The data from the survey will be analysed and incorporated into The SeaChange or Tai Timu Tai Pari plan, which will be delivered to the council in 2015.

Go to seachange.org.nz/survey to take part in the survey.

North Shore Times