The Kermadecs’ 15 small islands are part of one of the world’s longest underwater volcanic arcs. Below the surface, underwater volcanoes rise up along a 2,500-kilometer (1,550 mile) zone where two tectonic plates collide. The trench formed by this collision includes Horizon Deep, the second deepest point in the world’s ocean.
The Kermadec region’s unique geological features and a mix of temperate and tropical waters make it a wellspring of marine life. Undersea volcanoes, hydrothermal vents, and deep-sea corals support hundreds of fish and bird species, dozens of marine mammal species, and several sea turtle species.
The islands themselves, especially Raoul Island, are considered sacred by the Maori people. Archaeological evidence shows that ancient voyagers made landfall in the Kermadecs before their final push to the North Island.
The Bertarelli Foundation, in partnership with the Pew Charitable Trusts, advocates for the designation of a highly protected marine reserve which would safeguard the remarkable biodiversity of the region, respect an important cultural seascape for indigenous people, help the region to be more resilient to climate change, and sustain the myriad benefits that healthy oceans provide for species in the water and on land.
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 The Pew Charitable Trusts and the Bertarelli Foundation joined forces in 2017 to create the Pew Bertarelli Ocean Legacy Project. Their aim is to create the first generation of ecologically significant and effective marine reserves around the world. The project builds on a decade of work by the two organizations to protect the ocean. Between them, they have helped obtain designations to safeguard 8.2 million square kilometres of ocean by working with philanthropic partners, indigenous groups, community leaders, government officials, and scientists. Since 2010, the Bertarelli Foundation has helped protect the ocean for future generations, through both marine conservation and collaborative marine science research.