Open Collective
Open Collective

Blue Cradle Foundation


Making ocean science more accessible


Blue Cradle was born during the Covid-19 pandemic in April 2020. We are a registered New Zealand Charitable Trust based in Christchurch, Aotearoa New Zealand.

Founded by interdisciplinary marine scientist, IUCN/UN consultant, filmmaker and ocean advocate James Nikitine, the main idea behind Blue Cradle is that we come from the ocean, and so we should care for it.

The ocean regulates our climate, weather, and feeds billions of people. We also depend on a healthy ocean and so James, inspired by Tara Expeditions, decided to start Blue Cradle to develop an ocean research & education platform based in Aotearoa NZ and working across the South Pacific region.

We facilitate research expeditions, run ocean literacy programmes and activities, and we produce documentary content to bring ocean science to thousands of viewers. We support the implementation of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030)

Blue Cradle's main objectives are:
  • To promote the conservation and regeneration of the ocean’s ecosystems and species.
  • To promote and support communities working on ocean health impact solutions in Aotearoa New Zealand and beyond.
  • To promote ocean literacy, marine science and conservation education and ocean science for sustainable development.
Blue Cradle works across three programmes:
  • A research programme, with coastal & offshore focus, aiming to address complex issues of ecosystem resilience, anthropogenic pressures, and marine biodiversity characterization.
  • An education programme, promoting ocean literacy across schools, Universities and the broader public.
  • A digital outreach programme, producing short and long form content for a wide range of audiences worldwide.


Our goal is to facilitate learning for primary and high school students, and enable research opportunities for early career ocean professionals.

Our goal is to plan several expeditions and education programmes in the coming years, including an expansion in the South Pacific region, work on coral reefs, reef fisheries and ridge to reef approaches.

Below you can see our current budget, and projections for 2022-2026, noting we did not have operational budget in 2020/21 and 2021/22, but despite this (and limited human resources) we increased grants won from $15,000 to $107,000. With $200,000 of operational budget, we can hire two more staff and increase our reach and significantly increase our budget and operations.

This is fundamental if we wish to continue.

Our funders are: Environment Canterbury, the Rātā Foundation, Hansaworld Ltd, the Christchurch City Council, Foundation North, and the French Embassy.

We are exploring funding solutions with: The Ocean Foundation (US based), the US Mission in New Zealand, WWF New Zealand, and others.

Through the Open Collective, our goal is to consolidate our nonprofit and meet our $200,000 target for the next 4 years.

Visit for more information, and thank you for your interest!

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