Supporter opportunity to spark VP’s potential
Twenty-year-old Tessa Berger is Mahurangi Action’s best hope for the future.
And that is good news for the Mahurangi, if the society’s achievements to date can be considered ‘good for the Mahurangi’.
Major achievements include: causing Mahurangi Peninsula wastewater to discharged outside the harbour, rather than into it, at Dawsons Creek; reviving the Mahurangi Regatta; publishing Jade River: A History of the Mahurangi; protecting the public’s right to foreshore access at Jamieson Bay; helping to ensure that a five-year regional council kickstart for riparian protection became the became the long-term, holistic Mahurangi Action Plan; conducting the first-ever scientific trials advancing the use of forestry-style methods to slash the cost of raising indigenous plants, and persuading Auckland Regional Parks to consider a Mahurangi Coastal Trail.
The current secretary of Mahurangi Action was a founding committee member, 40 years ago, and for half that time was the youngest on the executive. This could well be taken as evidence of founder syndrome, but no one would be happier to be eased into a less pivotal role, which is where Tessa comes in, first serving an apprenticeship to the president, Temepara Morehu. But the speed at which Tessa progresses from vice-president is not to do with how quick she is on the uptake; she could already run the organisation with one hand tied behind her. The issue is that Tessa currently has both hands full with her business start-up. This hasn’t stopped her being actively involved since her election last November, particularly with the Warkworth sediment improvements pilot.
Tessa’s plan to save the planet is simple. First become a successful entrepreneur doing something she is passionate about: combining a keen sense of design with a passion for helping young people to build community. Second, become a twenty-something politician dedicated to eradicating child poverty and meaningful climate action. Those aware of her achievements to date have little doubt she will achieve both these goals. Tessa took a flair for football all the way from the Pūhoi sports grounds to ASB Bank young sportsperson of the year award, representing Aotearoa in the FIFA women’s world cup, and an athletic scholarship at Florida Gulf Coast University, while acing her academic milestones along the way—even in te reo Māori, she gives 35th-generation Temepara Morehu a run for his money. Mahurangi Action’s president and vice-president share bonds of being from the same close-knit community. Tessa starred alongside Temepara’s grandson Kia Ranea Morehu 10 years ago in a production in the Mahurangi West Hall, to raise money for its restoration. But the bonds go back to when Tessa’s German great-great-grandfather settled at Puhoi, when the generosity of chief Te Hemara Tauhia and his people was the only thing between the settlers and starvation.
Tessa’s start-up, Lane Merchandising Co., has come to the attention of the Spark Foundation’s online crowdfunding programme, whereby chosen projects and start-ups are put on the foundation’s crowdfunding platform, and contributions are sometimes matched dollar-dollar, by the foundation. Tessa’s mission is to roll out her merchandise to another five high schools, which should put the business on its feet. To do this will cost $10 000, none of which goes to pay herself. If supporters pledge a total of $5000, by tomorrow week, the Spark Foundation will match those donations. If, on the other hand, the pledges fall short, nobody’s credit cards are charged—it is the all-or-nothing approach that makes everyone a winner and nobody a loser. Progress is displayed on the Spark My Potential website—exciting for both supporter and supportee.
And none will be watching progress more keenly, and dreaming of his succession plan, than the writer.
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Membership fees: $10 for individual; $20 for family; and, bless them, many also make a donation.
Mahurangi Action milestones mark some significant achievements
Updated 6 November 2018
- 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 2000 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
- 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!’