May 12, 2022, 3 p.m.
‘Connie’ was first introduced to Rangiputa beach on the Karikari Peninsula at the beginning of 2019. Scheduled to be released after rehabilitation, her caregivers were confident in her ability to survive back out in the ocean.
However, local community and 'SEA LIFE Kelly Tarltons' never expected her to land back on our shores a year later.
Proven to be more than your average green sea turtle, Connie was then cared for an extra two years. Jessica Van De Pas, Lead Aquarist - SEA LIFE Kelly Tarltons, says the personal bond you grow throughout time spent caring for our sea life, is unlike any other.
“We spend so much hard work and time with these turtles. It's always such a bittersweet feeling seeing them go, because we develop such strong feelings for them.
But yeah, we have no doubt she's got the best chance out there.”
Among those present to see Connie off on her second journey out to sea, were the Department of Conservation, local hapū members as well as an abundance of local whānau. Nina Raharuhi, Local Hapū Member/Kaitiaki Ranger - Karikari Peninsula, is more than happy to see Connie returned to Rangiputa Beach and can see an opportunity for a higher population on the peninsula.
“The significance for Connie to be released out here is huge. We want Connie to have a strong, healthy rest of her life and hopefully she mates and can produce more little Connies.”
Although a rough start to her journey, Connie is more than prepared to set off on her journey - With a whole community patiently awaiting her next visit.