The mystery of the Manta

Doyle Sails are proud to get behind this important research through our charity partnership with Live Ocean Foundation, as they help scale up Manta Watch New Zealand’s work. 

LiveOcean Foundation is demanding action to bettering the health of our oceans. Live Ocean Foundation join exceptional New Zealand scientists, innovators and communicators to scale up action for a healthy ocean, something Doyle Sails are proud to support.

Read more about the foundation’s latest project, the Oceanic Manta Ray

Globally, te whai rahi oceanic manta rays are endangered with some populations in serious decline, but here in New Zealand we simply don’t know enough about how these impressive ocean voyagers are faring in a rapidly changing ocean. Data, sightings and knowledge are crucial to ensuring a healthy future for the great oceanic manta.  

With powerful wingspans of up to seven meters wide, these ocean wanderers don’t let their enormous two-tonne frame weigh them down, gracefully flying across the Pacific. Big brained and highly social these New Zealand manta are unsung champions – holding the triple crown for the longest recorded migration path, deepest recorded dive and going to the coldest water ever recorded for any manta.

Photo credit: Lydia Green

Mātauranga Māori shows Aotearoa has been a home for te whai rahi for centuries, yet a lot of mystery still surrounds these manta. The research team at Manta Watch New Zealand, led by Lydia Green are working hard to find answers. By bringing together knowledge, tracking data and public sightings, they’re developing a clear picture of the population size, movements, and the role of New Zealand’s waters in the manta’s lifecycle.  


Traditionally considered to be a tropical species, many people see manta as visitors passing through rather than a local in New Zealand’s waters. Manta Watch NZ’s first major breakthrough in changing this mindset was with Emmy the manta, who they met off the coast of Whangaroa in 2019.  
The research team followed her 1,982 km record-breaking journey to Fiji. Her tag popped off in the Pacific, however she was sighted again near Te Hauturu-ō-Toi Little Barrier Island the following summer. Emmy’s voyage provided much-needed evidence that her presence in New Zealand is both intentional and a key location in her annual migration.  
This breakthrough unlocked more questions than answers, highlighting how much more there is to learn around migration routes if we are to identify risks and implement protection measures.


Not only did Emmy win the record for the longest migration, shealso took the prize for the deepest dive – recorded as reaching1,248 metres!  
This is far deeper than previously thought and shows a connection to the deep ocean ‘twilight’ and ‘midnight’ zones. While many marine species spend time in these zones, we know relatively little about them. Learning what the manta are doing when they go deep could help researchers monitor the overall health and changes within these ecosystems. 


If you’re lucky enough to spot one of these majestic giants while out on the moana, please let the Manta Watch team know. 

Photos are incredibly valuable, especially of their belly, when it comes to helping identify individuals, so if it’s safe for you and the marine life to grab a pic please do. 

If you aren’t able to look for manta yourself, you can help the team by providing much-needed research support, such as increased boat time and satellite trackers.

100% of all donations through Live Ocean Foundation until the end of February will go directly to Manta Watch New Zealand.


ABOUT LIVE OCEAN // To have a healthy future, we must have a healthy ocean. We must foster an ocean with clear, clean water, abundant fish populations and thriving marine ecosystems. Where we prioritise the importance of the ocean in a healthy future and invest in knowledge that supports this ambition. Where we understand that by restoring and protecting our ocean, we all benefit. Learn more about Live Ocean here.

ABOUT DOYLE SAILS // As sailors, our obsession with sailing connects us to the water. The water is our playground, a sanctuary where we seek enjoyment, a competitive playing field where we race as comrades; it’s sometimes our home and always a place that unlocks our sense of adventure wherever that adventure might take us.

Our obsession with sailing takes us to every corner of the world and onboard every yacht. We become part of teams, share in the adventures of friends and families, sharing our knowledge and experience with those who have the same passion for sailing as we do. Sailing is in our DNA, where the water unlocks our sense of adventure. We are the custodians of a legacy that has been supporting sailors for close to four decades, and while our world changes around us, our commitment to sailors who seek the same enjoyment and adventure as we do hasn’t.

From our sailors to yours. We are your experts in sailing. Your adventure starts with Doyle. By sailors, for sailors.

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