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Magazine receives boost from Berger board bid

by 4 Aug 2016Berger for the board, Local board5 comments

Mahurangi Magazine cover, January 2007

Sins of the Fathers: Boomers are almost universally oblivious of the need to bring a rapid end to indulgent practices such as the high-carbon publication of glossy hardcover periodicals, but nor was the online Mahurangi Magazine young-person-friendly, until this edition. Note that in this reconstruction of the cover of the first and last glossy-magazine-format edition, the current name of Mahurangi Action is used, rather than the tired and retired ‘Friends of’. image Mahurangi Magazine

Mahurangi ‘bulletins’ had been getting progressively more ambitious, climaxing, in January 2007, with the first, glossy magazine format, Mahurangi Magazine.

The proximate spur was the need to fill the void left when the Mahurangi Cruising Club briefly decided that its magnificent yearbook could no longer be published—the combination of losing its passionate editor, and rising publication costs.

Despite a very compressed lead-time there was an embarrassment of advertisers, with even the then Rodney District Council chipping in, by way of communicating the commencement of the consultation process on a long-term wastewater strategy that culminated in last month’s momentous decision to end the discharge of effluent into the Mahurangi River.

But, as instantly successful as the glossy Mahurangi Magazine was, repeating it say as a quarterly would have been an unreasonable presumption on the generosity of the advertisers. Besides, given that its role included providing a platform for Mahurangi Action Incorporated, a nominally environmental organisation, online publication was more preferable and appropriate than further carbon-intensive glossy editions.

When the keel of the online Mahurangi Magazine was laid, the first iPhones were only just coming onto the market, so the notion that folk would wish to read the publication on such devices was not exactly uppermost. However, for some time now, the publication’s ugly performance on tablets and smart phones has been an increasing irritation, if not a top priority, given the urgency of saving Te Muri from becoming a car park, and the rapidly receding opportunity to exploit the 50th anniversary of the Auckland Regional Parks to leverage a 50-year plan for the network.

Tessa Berger, v-notch weir, 2007

Mahurangi Coastal Trail Trust Chair: Not only did Tessa Berger become the president of Mahurangi Action at age 21, she also chairs the Mahurangi Coastal Trail Trust, which counts former chairmen of Ports of Auckland, and Auckland Regional Parks amongst its trustees. Tessa, as a year-7 Mahurangi College student, drew attention to the fact that the v-notch weir measuring the river flow behind her classroom was preventing whitebait migrating up the Mahurangi River. image Mahurangi Matters

But then, in a classic example of how essential it is for young people to be engaged in community affairs, the need for the Mahurangi Magazine to work on smart phones became urgent when Mahurangi Action’s 21-year-old president Tessa Berger decided to run for Rodney Local Board, and the publisher elected to overtly support her candidacy. Aside from her intellect, her energy, her sporting prowess, her Pūhoi–Mahurangi roots and her passion for meaningful politics, Tessa has already built a following of more than 100 000 on social media, based not on celebrity, but on her integrity and her many achievements, not least of which is her merchandising startup. But for the magazine to seamlessly contribute to this, the pieces published need to render quickly and attractively on the tablets and smart phones that Facebook account holders, for example, predominantly use.

So hence this wholly new website, lovingly crafted by a daughter whose favourite place in the world is Te Muri, and built industry-standard so that others can readily collaborate in adding to a much appreciated resource, that it may more powerfully contribute to building community in the Mahurangi. In that spirit, the ‘Put your oar in…’ returns, having been knocked out by a system conflict with the forms utility that was so successfully deployed contributing towards the 523 submissions that overwhelmingly put people ahead of cars at Te Muri. RNZ National might have reneged on publishing comments, but it was never the intention of the Mahurangi Magazine arbitrarily pull up the drawbridge on readers, but nor is there any lack of compunction to heavily moderate comment that is submitted. It is an utter nonsense that rabid trolls are given free rein on most editorialising websites, rendering the reading of them an unedifying experience. If the content adds to the discussion, in the editor’s opinion, it will be published, but possibly only after subediting for style and clarity. The objective is to provide a place to report on and discuss developments in the Mahurangi and beyond, and to shamelessly promote what is thought to improve the prospects for a survivable planet in the face of fossil-fuelled intransigence and the blind pursuit of growth. This consciously biased stance includes supporting Tessa Berger as an independent candidate for the Warkworth subdivision of the local board.

This is not to suggest that the Rodney Local Board has been other than a very good friend of the Mahurangi. But democracy itself is at risk, with little over a half of registered voters voting in general elections and a third in local ones. The evidence is clear that the only intervention that works meaningfully is to instil the voting habit before the age of 20. As a 21-year-old, Tessa Berger uniquely appeals to young people, who have tremendous difficulty in divining relevance in most of what passes for local or national politics. But Tessa talking about walking access to Te Muri, or what it will take to make the Mahurangi River safe for swimming again, and for its whitebait, is a whole other scene—one which 18–29-year-olds can instantly relate to.

So, while the Mahurangi Magazine had to be upgraded for handheld devices anyway, it is an honour to be able to boost someone who is giving so much back to the community, at such a young age.

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