2016 june

Do The Right Thing: The 2016 Hauraki Gulf Marine Park Seminar

Do the right thing

The 2016 Hauraki Gulf Marine Park Seminar asks what it takes to Do The Right Thing

  • Can our primary industries reinvent themselves and their relationship with ecosystems?
  • What is people-power unleashing around our islands, reefs and harbours?
  • How can 600 years of indigenous knowledge and culture inform the way?
  • Are fly fishing for kahawai and sailing with whales signs of the times?
  • And where might the government fit in all this?

The Hauraki Gulf Forum has assembled an outstanding line-up of speakers for its seventh annual seminar on Tuesday, September 13 at Auckland Museum.

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Catch reconstruction

The total amount of marine fish caught in New Zealand waters between 1950 and 2010 is estimated at 2.7 times more than official statistics suggest, and most of the difference is due to unreported commercial catch and discarded fish.

This is a chief finding from a report released in May Reconstruction of Marine Fisheries Catches for New Zealand (1950-2010) by Dr Glenn Simmons and others from the University of Auckland Business School, Oxford University, and University of British Columbia, and part of a global study published in Nature Communications.

“A striking finding was the extent of misreporting to avoid deemed value penalties – at sea and on land,” said Dr Simmons. “This highlights a weakness of the Quota Management System, which relies on full and accurate reporting, yet, in practice, incentivises misreporting.”

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Gulf knights

Two ‘friends of the Gulf’ have received knighthoods in the recent Queens Birthday Honours List.

Sir Robert Fenwick was knighted for services to conservation and business and acknowledged for making significant contributions to sustainable development, wildlife protection, waste minimisation, environmental science, Antarctica and iwi over 30 years. Sir Rob also vested family land on Waiheke Island into the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park in 2002.

Sir Christopher Mace received his knighthood for services to science and education. He has been chairman of the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research since 2009 and is currently chairman of the Sir Peter Blake Trust Awards selection panel. Sir Chris has been a long time champion for research and education investments in the Hauraki Gulf.

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Mercury Island tusked weta

Great Mercury/Ahuahu pest free

Great Mercury/Ahuahu was declared pest free by the Department of Conservation in May. This followed a rat eradication operation in winter 2014, which has removed kiore, ship rats and feral cats.

All islands in the Mercury group are now free of pests, making the significant biodiversity on the smaller islands much safer from pest invasion from Great Mercury/Ahuahu.

The islands are home to a tusked weta found nowhere else in the world, kaka, saddleback, little spotted kiwi, tuatara, 10 different species of lizards and hundreds of thousands of seabirds.

The operation was partly funded by the island’s part owner Sir Michael Fay, who says the challenge now is keeping the islands pest free.

“All it takes is for one person to allow a stowaway pest on their boat to escape and undo all the hard work that has gone on here in recent years.”

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Trees await historic planting on Maungakiekie

Trees on Maungakiekie

Three young tōtara and six pohutukawa were planted in a dawn ceremony on the tihi of Maungakiekie/One Tree Hill in June. It marked an historic moment for mana whenua following the return of Maungakiekie to them in the landmark Ngā Mana Whenua ō Tāmaki Makaurau Collective Redress Act.

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Milford Beach

Climate change resource

The New Zealand Coastal Society has published Adapting to the consequences of climate change: Engaging with communities to assist coastal professionals, decision-makers and communities in preparing for sea-level rise and the associated effects of climate change.

Read it here

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Robins return to Shakespear sanctuary

Robins return

The birdsong of the native North Island robin or toutouwai will once again fill Shakespear Open Sanctuary following the release of the first pairs in April.

Shakespear Open Sanctuary has been pest-free for almost five years through work by Auckland Council park rangers and biodiversity staff and volunteers from Shakespear Open Sanctuary Society Inc. The translocation of 20 birds from the Mangatutu (King Country) was led by Parker Conservation and Massey University and funded by the Royal Society of New Zealand.

www.sossi.org.nz

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Coromandel brown kiwi arrive on Motutapu by waka

Lift by waka

Three of the North Island’s rarest kiwi caught a waka to their new home in the Hauraki Gulf in April.

The adolescent birds were released into the predator-free environment of Motutapu Island as part of an effort by several conservation groups to save the Coromandel brown kiwi.

The three kiwi, two female and one male, were found as eggs in Thames, taken to Auckland Zoo for incubation and then raised on Rotorua Island.

Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki chair James Brown said the journey was symbolic and signified traditional protocols and rituals.
They joined 22 other kiwi released on the island. Shore plovers and patake have also been released on Motutapu in recent months.

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Green winner

Te Whangai Trust was the Supreme Winner at the 2016 Green Ribbon Awards in June.

The Waikato-based trust has contributed to restoration projects bordering the Gulf, including recent development of catchment management plans for the Mangatarata-Miranda-Kaiaua Community Care Group. The Trust develops life skills and future employment prospects while helping community partners to restore ecosystems, wildlife corridors and waterways.

Conservation Minister Maggie Barry said “Te Whangai Trust’s community biodiversity project has changed people’s lives and made huge environmental strides in the Waikato. It’s all about teaching people skills while caring for the natural environment.”

tewhangai.org

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Funds for conservation

Groups have until 1 July to apply to a multi-million dollar fund set aside to support community conservation.

The DOC Community Fund was set up in 2014 to distribute $26 million over four years to inspire and enable community-led conservation projects around New Zealand.

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Aotea Track re-opens

Great Barrier Island Aotea Track has re-opened. The three-to-four track was extensively damaged by a storm in June 2014. The repairs to five bridges and 13 temporarily re-routed sections cost $353,000.

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Purchase package for Glenfern Sanctuary

Glenfern purchased

The purchase of the 83ha Glenfern Sanctuary on Great Barrier, created in 1992 by Tony Bouzaid, was announced in June. It was enabled through a combined $1.25 million by Auckland Council and the Great Barrier Local Board. The Minister of Conservation, through the Nature Heritage Fund, will contribute $975,000 and Foundation North $675,000.

Auckland Mayor Len Brown said “we will care for Glenfern and continue to contribute to the conservation of the Kotuku Peninsula with pride.” Great Barrier Local Board Chair Izzy Fordham said the sanctuary creates opportunities for conservation, education and economic outcomes for the island and the Hauraki Gulf.

The sanctuary and two adjoining properties are enclosed by a 2km pest proof fence. Auckland Council will own the new park, with governance details still to be finalised.

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Kokopu, indicator of mauri

Mauri baseline

Restoration of mauri and ecosystem functioning on lands managed by Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei has been boosted by studies at several locations.
The report by Phoebe Balle for Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei, Auckland Council and University of Auckland recorded vegetation, plant and animal pests, birds, lizards and water quality at Whenua Rangatira (Bastion Point), Pourewa Creek Recreation Reserve and Anamata Creek (Opanuku tributary).
The results will provide a baseline and monitoring framework by which to measure the success of restoration investments.

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Argentine ant removed from Tiri

Argentine ants gone

After 16 years of work by Department of Conservation staff (primarily Chris Green who is DOC’s Threats Technical Advisor), and volunteers the Argentine ant has been eradicated from Tiritiri Matangi Island. The insects are extremely difficult to eradicate, and the successful operation follows development of innovative bait and detection methods.

Conservation Minister Maggie Barry said “they may be small, but these ants are one of the most damaging of all invasive pest species. The World Conservation Union lists them as one of the 100 worst eco-invaders on Earth.” Argentine ants can form super-colonies with a huge appetite.

First discovered by Chris on Tiritiri Matangi in 2001, they are capable of killing native insects, lizards and even birds, and compete with them for food resources.

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Watercare Harbour Clean-Up Trust

Tamaki clean up

Watercare Harbour Clean-Up Trust and volunteers from Spark collected 5000 litres of litter within an hour from a 100 metre stretch of the Tamaki River in April. The most common items were bottles, plastic bags and polystyrene but included tyres, furniture, clothing, kids’ toys, and even a TV.

Watercare Harbour Clean-Up Trust contractors Hayden Smith and Ben Harris said that while the amount of rubbish was slightly higher than normal, types were typical of what is regularly collected around East Tamaki. Smith says the majority of rubbish is improperly disposed of on streets, then ends up in drains, the stormwater network and is moved by rain, wind and tides.

31 million litres of rubbish have been removed from Auckland harbours since the trust was launched in 2002.

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Drone footage of a Bryde’s whale lunging after prey

Drone captures whales

Auckland University of Technology researchers have used drones to capture footage of whales feeding in the Gulf.
Post-graduate students Ticiana Fetterman and Lorenzo Fiori used a custom-built multi-rotor drone to film a Bryde’s whale lunging after prey, accompanied by a young calf.

Dr Barbara Bollard Breen, the students’ supervisor, says “drones could be a useful addition to boat surveys, for scientists who are studying the foraging behaviour of this critically threatened species.”

Around 50 Bryde’s whales are resident in the Gulf.

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