SEAFRIENDS has changed.
For café, snorkel hire, school programmes go to  the Octopus Hideaway
For learning about our seas and planet, begin at the home page of

Seafriends - Field Centre in Leigh
The Marine Conservation and Education Centre inLeigh
Help us save our seas!

where - snorkel/dive - hire prices - safety suits - sea conditions - Goat Island - café - aquariums - schools

Information on this page:

Where are we? How can you find us?
A challenging beginning
The field centre has aquariums, a library, a restaurant, dive hire and more
A number of school programmes have been developed around Seafriends' resources and the natural resources of the area. 'Opening windows to the sea' is one of the themes. Visit the separate section for schools. where you can read more about school trips and how we fit in with the school curriculum.

Information not on this page

Extensive information about the Goat Island marine reserve, established in 1975: history, ecology, dive sites, fish species and much more. (80 pages)
Diving in the Goat Island Marine Reserve and snorkelling with the fishes. (4 pages).
A short introduction to an exciting visit to the Goat Island marine reserve, with links. (2 pages)
A photo of the sea condition at Goat Island, weather and tide information and more (1 page)
Hire your gear from Seafriends, for best price, quality and cleanliness. It helps us save the sea. (1 page)
Take advantage of Seafriends' special safety suits for full cover and flotation. Schools take notice! (3 pages)
Learn how to snorkel by floating on the surface, and then progress to the skills needed for freediving (going under on one breath) (16 pages)
Read more about Seafriends and why we wrote this web site. Also about founder Dr Floor Anthoni (3 pages)
A café with provincial cooking, a convivial atmosphere in a garden setting with splendid views. Open every day. (3 pages)
Where to camp nearby. (3 pages)
For organised groups, such as pensioners, we offer a lecture and lunch with visit to the aquariums, an instructional and entertaining video and visit to the beach. Learn about our concerns for the sea. (1 page)
Read why the Seafriends aquariums are so special as a functioning ecosystem, while managed with a newly invented water quality measurement technique (DDA). Read more about the marine species we keep and how it works. (2+20 pages)


Seafriends home -- 19971128,20020710,20070805,20091017

Map Auckland to LeighLocation
From Auckland (in New Zealand), drive North on Highway One to Warkworth (55Km). Turn right (East) towards Matakana and Leigh (23 Km). Pass through Matakana. In the centre of Leigh you will find directions to turn left to Pakiri and Goat Island Beach. After 1.5 Km, turn right into Goat island Road. Then immediately left into our driveway. You'll find signs at the entrance to Goat Island Road and our driveway.

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The Seafriends marine conservation and education centre was established as a base for a self-funding movement to fight for the preservation and improvement of our seas. One would think that New Zealand, sparsely populated and located far away from the industrial north, would be exempted from problems affecting the seas. But nothing is further from the truth. As enthusiastic divers -frequent visitors to the underwater world- can testify, the seas around New Zealand are deteriorating at an alarming and accelerating rate. What the public knows about this is the very little it has been presented through the media, mostly focused on fisheries and direct threats to humans: demise of snapper and other fisheries, disappearance of scallop beds, closure of shellfish fisheries due to poisonous plankton, red algal blooms and plagues of jellyfish, dogs dying on beaches. Even in the 1970s such problems had never been experienced in NZ. Yet these symptoms are only a minor nuisance compared to the massive kill of nearly all species that is occurring in many places. How could this happen? What is its cause? Where does it end? How bad can it get? Can we do something about it? What sort of sea are our children inheriting? Is this really what YOU want to happen? Do YOU care?

Here at Seafriends we believe that we can make a difference to the future of New Zealand's seas. In 1990 it was decided to build a centre that would earn enough to pay its way (your money by doing business with us). Hence the combination with a restaurant/café. But finance was not available. None of New Zealand's banks wanted to fund even as little as $10,000! So we used our pension savings to convert the existing woolshed (a disused shearing shed). In December 1992 we opened under difficult circumstances. The next two years much more had to be built and improved upon. After that we could concentrate on the diving gear and curriculum needed to take schools from Standard 3 to Form 7 into the sea. In 1996 we embarked on an ambitious project to document the marine habitats of our country, which will be on-going. Then an Internet site with information about our seas, a Seafriends network of people, a charitable foundation and finally political action. Where could you fit in? Let us know!

We see the process of saving our seas as a succession of steps, each of which challenging our present way of thinking. We must recognise that NZ's problems need to be solved with NZ solutions. First we need to acknowledge that we have problems that are getting worse at a disastrous rate. Then we need to know how these manifest themselves and what the underlying causes are. In the process we need to become familiar with the many creatures in our seas, many being unique to our little patch of the world, and what protection they need. Finally we may embark on a sustainable ecological solution that may take our country confidently into the 21st century and beyond, a vision that may be the envy of other nations.

The coastal fringe around our country, often no more than 50 metres wide, houses the highest diversity of species, most of which are unique. This coastal fringe is under direct threat, from north to south and east to west but more so near large human settlements. Overfishing is an obvious problem. Less obvious, where humans live, waste water causes major problems. Even after complete treatment, it poisons directly and induces severe plankton blooms in the coastal seas. Being unable to recycle our wastes adequately, we also seem indifferent to our precious land resources being wasted only to destroy our precious coastal resources. Elsewhere the water run-off from farms washes silt and nutrients into the sea, which suffocates all sea creatures. This combined effect causes animals and plants to disappear, possibly forever. It also makes the sea and rivers dirty and unpleasant. Ironically we seem to look helplessly at this triple destruction: while our precious soils drain into the sea, it also kills our precious sea life, and it erodes our beaches. What makes the coastal fringe so vulnerable is that for every square metre of it, there are 10,000 to 100,000 square metres of land capable of destroying it. We must learn to become more cautious in the way we manage our soils.

Clearly, saving our seas won't be an easy task. But you can still help. Simply by doing business with us, you contribute. Tell others about us. Let schools visit us. Read more about the sea. Follow the progress we are making. Give a donation, or better still, your time. Put us in touch with the right people. And so on. Eventually our children will judge us by what we've accomplished!

While you're in Leigh, visit SEAFRIENDS Marine Conservation and Education Centre and make your stay unforgettable! 
Your hosts will be delighted to welcome you. Drive to Leigh, take the Pakiri Road out. Turn right when you get to the Goat Island Road turn-off. After 30 metres turn left into SEAFRIENDS, the friendliest place to visit.

If you make your booking by telephone (09 422 6212), we will have your table ready. Table-cooking group meals should be ordered in advance. Don't forget to tell us what you are celebrating .. you'll never know.

Seafriends - School programmes
The Seafriends school programme grew a little at a time and is still growing. This Internet site bears testimony to what it has achieved so far. But when we started the education centre in 1992, we had little idea of where to begin. The public knows so little of our marine environment, that parents often know little more than their school-going chidren. Eventually a theme emerged, that of opening windows to our sea. We do so by:
Refer to the school section for more details.