Celebrations and subscriptions as

Mahurangi Action looks at 40

Cimino 17 October 2014

Te Araroa Te Muri route option Half Age of Organisation: With its founding-member-and-current-secretary looking at 68, it is timely indeed that Mahurangi Action is poised to elect its youngest committee member ever, in 20-year-old Tessa Berger. Tessa was born in the same year Mahurangi Action, then named Friends of the Mahurangi, turned 20. Image in-the-back-of-the.net
There is surely no better way the milestone could be marked.

On Sunday fortnight, Mahurangi Action will be celebrating its 40th anniversary, alongside the Auckland Council and community celebration of the 10th year of the Mahurangi Action Plan.

Mahurangi Action was formed on 17 December 1974, as Friends of the Mahurangi, but a week away from Christmas would have be a frantic time to foist another event on the harbour’s faithful. Thus, Scott Homestead was booked well in advance, for 2 November, for Mahurangi Action’s annual general meeting, and a low-key celebration, figuring that members would happily toast the occasion six weeks shy of the actual formation date, and contemplate a real ripsnorter, in a further 10 years.

But all that was before Auckland Council and the Mahurangi Action Plan community resolved to celebrate the Mahurangi Action plan, in a style befitting the success, to date, of the 20-year plan.

It is anticipated that Mahurangi Action Incorporated’s annual general meeting formalities will take no more than 15 minutes, and will take place in Scott Homestead while the balance of the guests enjoy the afternoon tea that Auckland Council and Warkworth Hospice will lay on for everybody. The most solemn duty, for democratic societies, to be performed is the election of a committee. This can be an unedifying business, with attendees fearing that their very presence makes them fair game to be shanghaied into office. Then there is the other extreme of the closed shop, where aspiring candidates are made unwelcome. Mahurangi Action is in the enviable position of having a few old hands, and many who have only served one or two terms, and most incumbent members prepared to serve for another. But brilliantly, the dearth of younger representation is about to break, assuming that 20-year-old Tessa Berger meets the approval of a majority of those financial members voting.

Not only has Tessa Berger accepted nomination, she would also accept a position as Temepara Morehu’s vice president, and Temepara claims that Tessa’s te reo, if anything, is better than his own. An outstanding footballer, ex Epsom Girls Grammar School student Tessa has recently returned from a year on a sports scholarship at a Florida university, and is now immersed in her own online business start-up, based at Mahurangi West. As a Mahurangi College student, Tessa was one of the many involved in the excellent Wai Care work facilitated under the Mahurangi Action Plan by the irrepressible Ira Seitzer. Tessa herself was remarkable, however, in that when she realised that her Wai Care work would finish at the end of that school year, she gained permission to address the upcoming cohort on the importance of the whitebait migration assistance initiative she had begun, so that the year-younger group might continue the project.

When the regional council initiated the Mahurangi Action Plan, in 2004, one of its intentions was to prime the establishment of community trust to continue the work of riparian protection beyond the intended five-year timeframe of the initiative. Had that occurred, Friends of the Mahurangi, as the society was still known then, would have been marginalised. In the event, the community spurned the clumsy offer of $10‍ ‍000 per year towards administration costs, and elected to run with its long-established, or more recently established entities—societies that, in the event, proved adept at working together with regional and district council to produce the long-term action plan, Mahurangi Action Plan: A Catchment Plan 2010–2030, which not only survived the vexing integrated regional governance transition, but is now being actively built on. While some have little patience for council–community planning processes, the document, time and again, has proved to be powerfully useful when seeking official support for furthering projects and events as disparate as navigational dredging on the Mahurangi River, the Mahurangi Farm-Forestry Trail, the Mahurangi Regatta and consideration of the open-ground nursery method in the Puhoi–Warkworth motorway indigenous species planting programme.

That said, those contemplating attending Mahurangi Action’s annual general meeting need not be afeard they will be expected to sit through a litany of action plan project progress reports—too much information for a single sitting, and besides, the (independent) Mahurangi Magazine exists to perform that role. The intention, after all, is for Sunday 2 November, first and foremost, to be a celebration, and not a talkfest dominated by a few. While it is likely that many will learn at least something new, it is hoped that all come away with batteries recharged and a renewed sense of optimism for what can be achieved in one catchment, when the community and its council sing from the action plan songbook.

If, in 2024, Mahurangi Action gets to celebrate its half century half as salubriously as its 40th, it will be doing well, and there is every chance that that will occur, given that the Mahurangi Action Plan, by then, will be 20.

A grand excuse, and by then a lot more, to celebrate.




Nominations for the committee are welcome—please email to: secretary@mahurangi.org.nz

Subscriptions may be paid online directly to Mahurangi Action’s account: 38 9012 0357788 00. Membership fees: $10 for individual; $20 for family; $50 for regatta supporter, and, bless them, many also make a donation.

Please include member name(s) in the particulars, code and reference fields, or shoot the treasurer an email with that information: treasurer@mahurangi.org.nz




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Part of a hope-based network restoring and enjoying the Mahurangi
 Editor Cimino Cole