EMR is a national programme of experiential learning about marine conservation. EMR’s independence, professional delivery, marine reserves focus and provision of a range of learning styles make it unique within New Zealand. Since its introduction in Northland in 2002, EMR has expanded to be sustainable and active in 7 regions with a team of 19 coordinators nationwide. EMR has guided snorkel experiences in marine reserves around New Zealand involving 19200 students, with 33028 volunteer hours contributed. The wider community is reached via 262 printed media articles and over 4653 people have been engaged in EMR organised marine conservation events, taking our total number of known participants to 26746 New Zealanders. EMR empowers schools and communities by providing the equipment and expertise for a hands-on learning experience in the ocean. The programme involves investigating marine biodiversity and local marine environments before venturing to a fully-protected marine reserve. After this experience, students are able to compare unprotected and protected areas and are supported to put their knowledge into action within the community.