The Manta Watch project was set up in late 2017 and became a charitable trust in early 2020, with the vision of a sustainable future for Aotearoa’s manta and devil rays. Therefore, our mission is to foster knowledge of and advocacy for Aotearoa’s offshore ecosystems through research, conservation, and education.

Both manta and devil rays are globally endangered and at risk of extinction. We believe it’s vitally important to better understand the drivers behind Aotearoa’s manta and devil ray populations; their movements, critical habitats, and the potential threats that they face. This mahi can then be used to provide robust, long term conservation management recommendations for these taonga species.

Due to the offshore and elusive nature of manta rays, citizen science submissions play a vital role in the project’s success and account for 80% of MWANZ’s total verified sightings data. This information provides valuable insights and in turn drives the project’s dedicated research efforts.

For some time, a key MWANZ objective has been to establish a dedicated project website, whereby all aspects of our research, education and outreach can be publicly displayed and accessed. This will include a citizen science sightings hub and interactive sightings map, educational resources, and lots of epic images and footage.  Ultimately providing a centralised information hub enabling kiwis to learn about and connect with Aotearoa offshore taonga and contribute to ongoing marine conservation efforts.

Massive thanks to The Bobby Stafford Bush Foundation for seeing value in our project and for sponsoring MWANZ’s website, we are deeply grateful and are excited to see our online community develop.