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Mimiwhangata Proposal

Mimiwhangata Marine Reserve Proposal

Meeting Report

8 September 2004


Venue: Cafler Suite, Forum North, Whangarei
Date: Wednesday 8th Sept 2004

Time: 7pm
Attendance: 70 - 80 people

By: Brian Keene

On Wednesday 8 September there was a two hour meeting in Whangarei where the first hour was taken up by DoC staff, a facilitator and Dr Bill Ballantyne putting the proposals for a marine reserve at Mimiwhangata. From 8.00 until 9.00 pm there were 12 speakers. One was for the proposal. Two were Maori who were more interested in their own position (loss of land, food, foreshore etc and mainly from a self interest point of view). Their position was unclear. It appears they would be for a reserve if they got access or it was for a finite term but against it if they didn't get their way. The balance
of speakers were vehemently in some cases and some less so, against the proposal.

It does appear DoC are promoting the reserve on the basis that they know best, Leigh reserve works and kina barrens are caused by recreational fishers taking too much, allowing kina to kill the kelp. They answered few questions and mostly what they did answer was meaningless waffle about "full
consultation with iwi", "proper acceptance of public viewpoints" "marine reserves are catching on". They gave a guarded comment that the reserve may last a few years until consultation with hapu and iwi could allow the area to revert.

One element of concern was that Vince Kerr showed a map of New Zealand land mass, stating that "30% of the land mass is under conservation". Clearly, the emphasis here is that the sea area should be the same.

There were no Mfish representatives there, in spite of the floor having asked for this at an Oakura meeting on 21 August. There would have been 70-80 people present but the facilitator refused to take a vote for or against at the end of the meeting as an indication.

Points made by the opposition to the reserve were:

  • DoC have put in excess of 80 tonnes of fertiliser on the land under their control, adjacent to the existing marine park. What effect has that had?
  • What is being done about land based pollution leaching into the sea?
  • What about the tonne of urea spread by DoC on land adjacent to the shellfish beds in Mimiwhangata Bay?
  • Why is the outer boundary of the proposed reserve out to 100m depth? There is no kelp able to grow there, no proven breeding ground and no ability to monitor what is happening to the sea life out  there.
  • Where is the evidence of the commercial take?
  • Why is there a mussel farm AMA shown within the existing area? (This was one of the questions DoC answered - there will be no mussel farm allowed in the proposed reserve, though there is in the current park).
  • What is unique about Mimiwhangata that makes DoC want an area people want to visit? Vince Kerr did answer the "uniqueness" question by saying it wasn't unique.
  • Why not a more isolated spot?
  • Is it just because DoC have a holiday place there?
  • What about the trips DoC staff take out of Oakura that are clearly not research related?
  • How are DoC going to manage the area? They can't police it now.
  • How can they police an area so much larger than the Poor Knights, which they leave to charter boats and other fishers to police?
  • DoC say MFish is responsible for policing but there is no liaison between DoC and MFish.
  • What is the validity of their research? When was it taken? This particular speaker understood the
    survey was done in November to January when there were few snapper there anyway.
  • One of the speakers was a fishing equipment shop proprietor who had done an unscientific and impromptu survey, where 78% of his customers were opposed to the idea of a reserve.
  • Another was a local resident who categorically stated he could show DoC staff where packhorse crays exist, though DoC cannot find any.
  • Why should DoC be given control of the area when they have already proved their incompetence (by their own - Manager John Gardiner's- admission they have controlled the marine park since Lion Breweries had sold the land to the Crown in 1963). They have 40 years of incompetent administration, so why should more power change that?
  • Where is the evidence of kelp depletion being caused by fishers? Pictures compared between 1950 and 2003 do not show kelp depletion in areas recreational fishers go to.
  • What about the Nor' Easterly storms that affect kelp growth and stability?  This depletion theory doesn't seem to be supported by any facts. Bill Ballantyne went over the theory of kina killing the kelp forest again but still presented no evidence and there is nothing in the bibliography in "DoC Marine Reserve Proposal of 12/07/2004" to support this.
  • There is no legislative ability to "de-reserve" an area so how do DoC propose this could happen?


Largely a very anti-DoC meeting with few answers given by DoC.

Brian Keene
Shalako Charters
Box 426 Whangarei



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