40 Years for Mahurangi Action’s

Shortest annual report

Cimino 26 October 2014

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 in-the-back-of-the.net
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 Puhoi–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 Puhoi–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

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

Mahurangi Coastal Trail:
 Council Investigates Possibility of Mahurangi Coastal Trail
 Coastal Trail Gains its First Concrete Step
 Mahurangi Coastal Trail High-Tide Seaweek Walk
 Low-Tide Walk to Sample Low-Hanging Fruit
 First Draft of Report for Coastal Trail Discussion at Club
 $15‍ ‍Million Te Muri Purchase Lucky Te Araroa Break
 Ten Minutes and Local Board Agrees to Walk
 The Coastal Path and the Ferrymen
 After a Century or More Ferrymen to Work Sunday
 Road Would Ruin Future for Mahurangi Coastal Trail
 Submission Suggests City as Green Growth Capital
 Unique Role for Mahurangi and Public Transport
 Te Muri Acquisition Key to Coastal Trail
 Captain Jones’ Legacy Complete at Te Muri
 Link Waiwera to Mahurangi with Coastal Cycle Trail

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