Waiheke Conservation Group Protect Our Gulf Inc (POG) and Ports of Auckland Limited (POAL) agree on mussel bed restoration project within the Hauraki Gulf.
Waiheke based community conservation group Protect our Gulf have secured funding from and agreed to collaborate with Ports of Auckland on mussel bed restoration projects within the Hauraki Gulf.
Following a three year long court battle against Ports of Auckland Limited, POAL have recently came to an agreement with Protect Our Gulf and subsequently received the consent required for POAL to dredge the Rangitoto Channel and dispose of dredged materials at the designated Cuvier disposal site.
Ports of Auckland requires deepening of the Rangitoto Channel for safe passage of larger ships to the port. Protect our Gulf is committed to ensuring that any works undertaken by Ports of Auckland is done in a way that is respectful of Māori cultural values and results in more positive environmental outcomes for the Hauraki Gulf.
In addition to the mussel bed restoration joint initiative, the agreement also ensures that POAL will support ongoing monitoring of the disposal site and look for opportunities to relocate as much of dredged material as possible back within the dredge precinct rather than disposing it at Cuvier disposal site.
"POG's main aim in bringing the litigation was to challenge the need for dumping in the Hauraki Gulf and to highlight the potential effects the activities might have on Māori cultural values and the precious environment in the Hauraki. We have now secured somewhat better environmental outcomes associated with POAL's proposed dumping and dredging activities. Having achieved this, we are pleased that the way forward is not ongoing and expensive court cases but instead proactive discussions with all stakeholders as to how to better look after our very degraded oceans. Not just in the Harbour but out in the places by Aotea where marine mammals breed, and feed in a way which genuinely recognises how precious our native mammals, fish, birds, seabed are. The important focus now must be how we can best protect the moana and its organisms. Notwithstanding that Auckland is a port city, we have to actively do better into the future as businesses and communities to question all projects which represent significant degradation to our marine environment," says Shirin Brown, Chair of Protect Our Gulf.
"POG would like to thank our legal team, our advisors, our committee, POG members, our supporters; as well as Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei for their incredible support of POG, their thoughtfulness and commitment in raising important Māori cultural issues and giving generously of their time in this important conservation and legal battle." says Ms Brown
Roger Gray, Ports of Auckland CEO is committed to engaging with and working with the community and stakeholders for the health of the Harbour.
"As one of the largest users of the Waitematā Harbour, we are committed to ensuring we do our part to look after it. Over the past 10 years the port has been working proactively on the protection on Brydes whales in the Gulf and we are now pleased to partner with Protect our Gulf on the mussel bed restoration also. We believe this partnership and work with other stakeholders will lead to more positive environmental outcomes." says Gray
As part of the agreement, Ports of Auckland will provide funding on behalf of POG to the mussel bed restoration work being done in conjunction with Revive our Gulf (ROG). ROG's mussel bed restoration project work is also in partnership with iwi/hapū and communities - bringing together expertise in marine science and mātauranga, consenting and biosecurity.
Looking forward, POG and POAL have committed to engaging and working positively and proactively together into the future, including the possibility of setting up a joint working group, to ensure that better environmental and conservation outcomes are central to the Port of Auckland's ongoing activities.
For comment and interviews contact:
Protect our Gulf: Kathyvoyles@gmail or 021 242 1549
Ports of Auckland: Julie Wagener [email protected] or 027 421 6697
POG intends to continue to be a voice for the voiceless, in raising the profile of environmental and conservation issues within the Hauraki Gulf including sedimentation, overfishing and the need for better management of the unique marine ecosystem and environment within the Gulf. It is also committed to continuing to ensure Te Ao Māori values have a central role in any important decisions that may impact the Hauraki Gulf and Tikapa Moana.
Protect Our Gulf has made submissions on the physical environment, on local amenities such as housing and on safety issues around footpaths and roads on the island. We will continue to do so into the future with a lens on the environment, on climate change, on livability on Waiheke and on any issues within our mandate.