Nga Moemoea o Tangaroa by John Booth, Resident, Eastern Bay of Islands
"Both the community preference and the science analysis said it all. The islands of Ipipiri, together with adjacent waters, are precious and popular parts of the Bay when it comes to the undersea. And parts of this area tick all the boxes when considering sites for long-term protection—including marine reserves.
But establishing marine reserves out here is never going to be straightforward. Not only is it a matter of achieving public consensus, but then it is essential to convince those who hold Mana Moana—and finally the government. We are presently fishing around in the Middle Ground.
Negotiations are underway with the two Te Rawhiti Hapu, Ngati Kuta and Patukeha. Nga Moemoea o Tangaroa—Our dreams for Tangaroa—is the title Kaumatua Matu Clendon has given our conversation out here.
Fish Forever has begun describing two candidate areas, at Maunganui Bay (including Deep Water Cove) and the waters around Okahu and Waewaetorea Islands, to reveal not just the fishy underwater story, but also the stories of the lands above including—as far as we are welcome to—those cultural and historical. Accounts will be sought and shared widely among Hapu and the wider community.
Fish Forever’s job is to show the community how the benefits and opportunities of long-term protection far outweigh any negatives.
And, in support of the Rahui in Maunganui Bay, Fish Forever’s Vince Kerr is busy organising the dive survey of the Canterbury and surrounding sites—required by the resource consent. These data will be delivered to the Hapu, and they will also be the start of a useful time series about the life in and around the hulk. A hui at Te Rawhiti towards the end of January went over what was involved in the sampling and analyses. Koruwha is the small group of young and old tamariki who will help to analyse the digital images of invertebrate growth and fishes (Four eyes because of the tendency to see double when you look too long at the screen).
There is progress. Some—probably us all—would like to see the pace faster, but as they say, good things take time."