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Fin-tastic event about sharks

Shark expert Dr Melanie Orr will host a free shark workshop for kids at the National Aquarium in late April.

Jake Brookie and Melanie Orr present a shark workshop at the National Aquarium

Shark expert Dr Melanie Orr and National Aquarium Educator Jake Brookie, pictured with shark biofacts (fins and skin), will share their knowledge with a young audience next month.

Sleek, silent and speedy – sharks are one of the ocean’s most famous inhabitants.

But we have much to learn about sharks, something one scientist is keen to share with young admirers of the mighty fish.

On Thursday 26 April, in the second week of the school holidays, Dr. Melanie Orr will be hosting a free presentation about sharks for pre-teens at the National Aquarium of New Zealand.

Melanie has a PhD in Marine Science from the University of Auckland. Her PhD research focused on how sharks sense electricity, and whether undersea cables affect their perception of the underwater world. “Sharks' ability to detect electric fields, effectively their sixth sense, is just one of the many weird and wonderful things about them,” Melanie explains. “I've been fascinated by sharks since the age of eight, and am looking forward to sharing my enthusiasm with a new generation of young shark fans."

'Sharkspert' Dr Melanie Orr: "Sharks' ability to detect electric fields, effectively their sixth sense, is just one of the many weird and wonderful things about them."

Melanie currently works as a Customer Service Assistant at MTG Hawke’s Bay and is volunteering her time for this talk.

It will suit children aged 8 to 12 who want to discover more about sharks and what makes them different from the other 32,000 types of fish – that we know of – that exist in the sea, and how sharks are vital for oceans to thrive. There are many public lectures held at the National Aquarium, but this is the first one aimed especially at children and their parents.

“What would the ocean be without sharks?” says National Aquarium Educator Jake Brookie. “Sharks always captivate Aquarium visitors. It is fantastic to have an expert like Mel here to inspire us.”

Jake will also be showing visitors shark biofacts such as fins and skin on the night – as well as showing an example of what a broadnose seven-gill shark might eat.

The National Aquarium is home to five species of shark, and the short-tail stingray, which is closely related to sharks. Each has amazing features and a powerful role to play in the food chain.

The National Aquarium’s holiday programme these April school holidays also has a shark theme.

What: Sharks After School
Where: National Aquarium of New Zealand’s Exhibition Hall
When: Thursday 26 April, 5pm to 6.30pm
How to book: This is a free event but you must register to attend. Go to the National Aquarium’s Facebook page, or email

26 March 2018

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