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Taking Te Araroa and the coastal trail cross-harbour ferry to AGM

by 4 Nov 2015Meetings and celebrations0 comments

Mahurangi Action’s inaugural meeting was held on 17 December 1974 for good reason.

Things had come to a head regarding Warkworth’s flawed—many people believed—decision to build a sewage treatment plant that had little capacity to cope with the precipitous flows that resulted whenever extreme rainfall events impacted the town’s leaky out sewer pipes.

Te Araroa Te Muri route option

Younger Ferrymen: On Saturday, Caitlin Owston-Doyle, left, and Tessa Berger will ferry Mahurangi Coastal Trail walkers across the Mahurangi Harbour to Mahurangi Action’s annual general meeting in Scott Homestead. Tessa Berger, already the society’s youngest committee member ever by seven years when elected as a 20-year-old this time last year, if elected on Saturday would to become its youngest office holder by an even greater margin. The tide being too low on Saturday for the Pooh to ferry folk across the Pūhoi suggested the logical, proposed missing Te Araroa section, via Hungry Creek Road, route be used instead. image Mahurangi Magazine

As predicted leaky sewer pipes, acting as stormwater pipes, resulted in flows often overwhelming the treatment plants capacity, until this was rectified by additional, standby mechanical treatment plant. Fortunately for the future of the Mahurangi River, the Warkworth wastewater treatment plant is to be retired in favour of a new combined plant at Snells Beach—something the community had successfully argued for in 1975, only to be cynically side-stepped following collusion between the old town council and county councils.

The following annual general meeting was held in late January, and the one after, the year Mahurangi Action revived the Mahurangi Regatta, on 1 April. Gradually, the annual meetings migrated later in the year, and after the traditional 31 March financial year date, and then, with a mandatory requirement for financial years to end on 30 June, after that date.

Last year’s 40th anniversary helped to revive an annual general meeting date closer to the society’s foundation date, so that the celebration, which was shared with that for the 10th anniversary of the Mahurangi Action Plan, was close to 17 December, but not so close as to be callous to Christmas chaos. Although the first was held on a Tuesday, and the next on a Saturday, it became customary for the annual general meetings to be held on a Sunday, and, from 1982, at Scotts Landing.

While Sunday worked well enough over the years, it meant that last year, when Mahurangi Action gained its youngest committee member ever, and as vice-president, she had to be elected in absentia, as Tessa Berger’s duties as captain of the north’s national women’s football team had her playing in Wellington that day. Thus the strategic decision to make the first Saturday in November the new default date was easily made, and fortuitous given that Tessa is the committee’s nomination and recommendation for president, following Temepara Morehu being forced to resign for health reasons.

Although it is anticipated that Temepara will continue to make his wise council available to the committee, his warm and captivating presence as Mahurangi Action’s president will be a big loss at community, council and the society’s meetings. Temepara and Tessa have enormous respect and aroha for each other, and the former’s fervent faith in the young is a not inconsiderable consolation to being forced to step down. It also helps that Tessa is as least as fluent in te reo Maori as Temepara, and her passion for helping to build Mahurangi Action’s capacity and relevancy is a rare opportunity for the now—give or take a month— 41-year-old organisation, and will provide the photogenic face that is essential for ensuring media attention.

With last year’s milestones being so magnificently celebrated with a field day, afternoon tea at Scotts Homestead, ten-minute annual general meeting, and trip back up the Mahurangi Regatta aboard the Jane Gifford, and after-match function at the Riverview Café, the temptation was to attempt to repeat the event. However, Auckland Council could not be expected to spring for the costs of such an event on an annual basis, so this year a treat of a different kind will be the opportunity to walk the new proposed missing section of Te Araroa from Hungry Creek Road to Te Muri, on to Sullivans Bay, and then be ferried across the Mahurangi Harbour to Scotts Landing, in the one-time oyster barge Pooh, crewed by Tessa Berger and Caitlin Owston-Doyle…

…faces of the future of Mahurangi Action, if elected on Saturday.

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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