Unveiling of pourāhui at Marsden Point

Media Release – 19 December 2018

Patuharakeke Te Iwi Trust Board’s rohe moana committee, Resource Management Unit, Kaumatua, whanau and community partners together achieved a significant milestone when two pourāhui named Koukou and Hakiro were blessed, unveiled and named at a ceremony today. The two pourāhui mark the landward side of the closed area at Mair and Marsden Bank. In addition to the rāhui, a  Section 186A Closure (Fisheries Act 1996) has been in place since June over the same area and supports and reinforces the customary rāhui. Itwas important that these pourāhui were in place before the busy holiday period to help inform the community and manuhiri about the closure.

The pourāhui will be accompanied by signage the Trust has developed to be placed next to the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) signs at key beach entrances and boat ramps. The Trust’s RMU coordinator Ari Carrington and pou artwork designer Marino Duke had particular assistance from Refining NZ, Northport, and Marsden Cove Marina staff to get the pou in place in dunes adjacent to the Refinery Jetty and at a Bream Bay site near Mair Road. Lovely weather and a fantastic turnout made the afternoon particularly special as tamariki and mokopuna swam in the sea beneath the pou while Patuharakeke kaumatua set down the tikanga for the process.

The rāhui applies to the take of all shellfish species (including crustaceans and squid/octopus) but surfcasting/fishing for finfish is still allowed. Patuharakeke also ask the community to avoid driving vehicles on the beach in this area as this impacts on the rejuvenation of the shellfish and destroys habitat.

This is the culmination of many years of mahi trying to protect and restore these important kaimoana beds. The population of pipi has plummeted by more than two-thirds over the last decade and is still estimated to be at less than 1% of 2005 levels.  Research is ongoing but there is no conclusive reason for this decline. Because of this, Marsden Bank has been closed to harvest of pipi since 2011 and Mair Bank since 2014. In November 2015 a healthy adult population of kūtai/mussels was regenerating after many decades of absence, covering an area of approximately 13,000 m2on the north-western side of Mair Bank and Marsden Bank. However, by the end of 2016 the majority of the bed had been completely harvested. The closure to taking of all shellfish aims to address this issue as well, allowing time for a sustainable population to re-establish and look after the area’s ecosystem as a whole.

Patuharakeke Te Iwi Trust Board’s Rohe Moana Committee are investigating longer term solutions to go beyond the rāhui and 186A closure. This includes potentially applying for a mātaitai reserve over the area. A mātaitai reserve is generally closed to commercial fishing. Recreational and customary take may occur again but the committee will look into the potential for seasonal or quota restrictions to allow for more sustainable harvest of kaimoana.  Patuharakeke will be consulting with the community and interested parties in the near future on this important kaupapa.

Nga mihi nui ki a koutou

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