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40 Years for Mahurangi Action’s shortest annual report

by 26 Oct 2014Meetings and celebrations0 comments

Te Araroa Te Muri route option

Longest List: Committee nominee Tessa Berger’s short bio is too long to serve as a caption, and so appears below, but it includes her being long-listed for the 2012 London Olympic Games, and gaining a perfect (4.0) grade-point average while at Florida Gulf Coast University last year. Tessa can also operate heavy machinery the likes of which appear in the background of this 2012 image, being her father’s—Mick Berger’s—daughter. image

This year’s annual general meeting needs to be the society’s shortest in its 40-year history.

Time and tide dictate that Mahurangi Action members expedite their formalities during the afternoon tea stop at Scott Homestead, before those celebrating the organisation’s 40th year, and the Mahurangi Action Plan’s 10th, board the Jane Gifford for Warkworth by 3‍ ‍pm, with only 35 minutes of incoming tide remaining.

Yet there is more to talk about on 2 November than at any annual general meeting since the launch of Jade River : A History of the Mahurangi, of which, as of this year, there are now only a couple of archive copies remaining of the 2000 printed.

Actually, it was the committee meeting prior to the publishing, in 2001, of Dr Ronald Locker’s history at which there was a great deal to discuss, including whether to complete the project, then nearly seven gruelling years since the author’s death. Fortunately for posterity, an unworthy ploy by a democratically-challenged chairman to discharge the society’s commitment to publish, by fobbing 80 deposit-payers off with laser-printed manuscripts, was roundly rejected.

Aside from that accomplishment, and reviving the Mahurangi Regatta, 2014 marks the beginning of what could prove to be the society’s greatest achievement: the realisation of a 26-year-old dream for the Mahurangi Coastal Trail. Strictly speaking, the then Friends of the Mahurangi can’t be credited with the concept, languishing, as it was, in one of its less dynamic phases. Instead it was the Mahurangi West and Pukapuka Residents and Ratepayers Association that led the charge, but that body is now long-defunct, and Mahurangi Action has since grasped that and numerous other nettles.

When, in 2004, the Auckland Regional Council revealed the unwelcome news the Mahurangi Harbour was staggering under the stress of an elevated sediment accumulation rate, the society had barely recovered from its bruising but successful incursion into publishing. With the council’s preconceived plan to see a new purpose-built entity established to address the all-important need to protect riparian margins, Friends of the Mahurangi may well have folded. Instead it was re-built and re-branded as Mahurangi Action, including to signal its long-term commitment to the long-term Mahurangi Action Plan. The society’s signal contribution to riparian protection is its science to back the reintroduction of the open-ground nursery method, so that large quantities of indigenous plants may be raised at a fraction of the cost of contemporary methods. Besides benefitting catchments beyond the Mahurangi, notably the 142-times larger one of Lake Taupō, the benefits are now bound to become national, with their embrace by Landcorp Farming and the successful addition of a condition requiring their consideration on the Pūhoi–Warkworth motorway project. Follow-up talks with the Northern Gateway Alliance environment manager, Dr Murray Wallis, have introduced the possibility that trials involving open-ground plants in motorway revegetation environments may begin, even before the Pūhoi–Warkworth motorway contract is let.

A nettle that needed to be grasped particularly firmly was the challenge, having revived the event on the back of Warkworth’s 150th anniversary celebrations, of getting the Mahurangi Regatta Prize-Giving Dance onto a sustainable footing. The breakthrough this year was entirely due to financial backing from the Rodney Local Board, which then encouraged nine visiting yacht and boating clubs, and the Mahurangi Oyster Farmers Association, to contribute a total of $2600 towards the cost of the marquee, big band, sound and lighting, and toilets and such. With Auckland Council local and regional event funds granting a total of $6000 towards the 2015 event, the days of the desperate bar-and-burger efforts to cover costs are now hopefully relegated to the history of this venerable regatta, which is set to provide the perfect curtain-raiser for Auckland Anniversary weekend 2015, when the city celebrates its 175th year. With Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse booked to again award the prizes, the opportunity presents to further remind an audience of Mahurangiophiles the lengths the city is going to look after the hydrological catchment of their favourite place.

Lest this litany of achievements may appear smug, the reality is that, in many respects, Mahurangi Action is only scratching the surface of the issues that confront the catchment, the most profound being, of course anthropogenic global warming—the more, and more-extreme, extreme rainfall events projected will require ever-better riparian management. But the prospects for Mahurangi Action rapidly ratcheting up the response, however, suddenly seem much more realistic, with the prospect of the society electing a dynamic and richly accomplished 20-year-old as vice president.

Mahurangi Action’s president, Temepara Morehu, has promised that his report to annual general meeting in Scott Homestead will be brief, but because it is Temepara, it is also bound to be lyrical and more than a little entertaining.

Tessa Berger biographic details in brief

  • Born Warkworth Birthing Centre 2 September 1994 to Michael and Beverley Berger
  • Accepted into Epsom Girls Grammar and Epsom House 2008
  • Studied Te Reo first year at EGGS (year 9); named best Te Reo student and subsequently skipped year 10 to be placed in year 11 NCEA level-1 class
  • 2011 ASB Young Sportsperson of the Year
  • Long-listed for 2012 London Olympic Games
  • Won 2012 Oceania U20 Women’s World Cup Qualifiers and attended 2012 FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup in Japan Graduated Epsom Girls Grammar School 2012 a prefect and won International Sportsperson of the Year award
  • Took up a full athletic scholarship at Florida Gulf Coast University in 2013; won Atlantic Sun Conference with team—personally made the All Conference Team and All Freshman Team Gained perfect (4.0) grade point average and the President’s List (highest academic university list in United States)
  • Gained start-up investor early 2014; returned to Aotearoa to launch merchandise company

Mahurangi Action milestones mark some significant achievements

Founded, as Friends of the Mahurangi
Tribunal recommends Warkworth wastewater be excluded from the Mahurangi River
Revived the Mahurangi Regatta
Supported Mahurangi West-led campaign that saw off plans to build a road to Te Muri and park up to 4000 cars behind its beach
Conducted poll on aspirations for Mahurangi in 25 years
Publication of Dr Ronald Locker’s 416-page Jade River : A History of the Mahurangi
Successful High Court defence of the public’s entitlement to access Jamieson Bay
Scotts Landing – Scott Homestead boardwalk
Mahurangi Regatta Ball, celebrating the 150th anniversary of Warkworth’s founding
Revival of the Mahurangi Regatta Prize-Giving Dance
Leading role in supporting Auckland Regional Council’s Mahurangi Action Plan
Mahurangi Magazine goes online
Establishment of first scientifically designed trials demonstrating that forestry-style nursery methods could slash the cost of raising indigenous plants
Leading role in developing Mahurangi Action Plan: A strategic plan for the catchment 2010–2030
With property holder, establishment of the Mahurangi Farm-Forestry Trail
Warkworth Sediment Improvements Pilot Phase I
Preservation of car-free Te Muri, forever
Culmination of 42-year bid to see council commitment to exclude Warkworth wastewater from the Mahurangi river and harbour
First Mahurangi Regatta held with new, long-term principal sponsor, Teak Construction
Submitted only proposal—for two local boards to replace the current Rodney Local Board—deemed a reasonably practicable option to Auckland’s governance arrangements
Inaugurated, with One Warkworth and supported by Mahurangi Matters, the Warkworth Town Hall Talks
Initiated, with philanthropist member, Mahurangi-based green-lipped mussel reef restoration research project
Initiated, with the Mahurangi River Restoration Trust, ‘Up the Mahu!’
Provided snug harbour for chart—Coastal Heritage Art—competition for schools


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