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Mahurangi Action turning 45 – 2019 annual report

by 6 Nov 2019Uncategorised0 comments


Star Hosted by Town Hall Benefactor: Warkworth Town Hall benefactor and loyal friend, and life member of, Mahurangi Action, J Barry Ferguson, once hosted the star of silent then sound movies, Gloria Swanson for a weekend when he lived in Stockholm. This made Sunset Boulevard the obvious choice for the first, free, screening by the nascent Warkworth Town Hall film society. Barry will be signing copies of his book, that includes the chance Swanson interlude, with all proceeds going to the cause. image Warkworth Town Hall

On 17 December, Mahurangi Action will be 45. This, indubitably, calls for a five-year plan to ensure all that reasonably can be, is achieved—for the Mahurangi, global climate and everything—before the organisation hits its half-centennialquinquagenary seems too arcane, semicentennial too imprecise.

Aside from its inaugural meeting, Mahurangi Actionestablished 1974 as Friends of the Mahurangi has avoided December meetings, bar that celebrating its 30th, held at the then Ransom winery, on the south branch of the Mahurangi River. Mahurangi Action’s 40th was held in conjunction with the 10th anniversary of the Mahurangi Action Plan.

Because turning 45 is not that big of a deal, the 2019 annual general meeting is in November, as currently required by the rules, and this Saturday, at 2 pm, in the Old Masonic Hall. As is Mahurangi Action’s style in the Mahurangi Action Plan era, the meeting will spend a minimal time on procedure, by dispensing with the reading minutes and annual reports, focussing instead, on the year ahead. Elections are generally quick and painless, including by not ambushing unwitting supporters, although volunteers do risk having their hands snatched off.

Mahurangi Action 2019strictly, October 2018 – November 2019 annual report

Mahurangi green-lipped mussel reef restoration research project

Published in the 2019 Mahurangi Cruising Club Yearbook, Mahurangi Mussels in to Save the Planet tells of how:

…a Warkworth Town Hall Talk by Dr Andrew Jeffs, in July this year, ignited a five-year, million-dollar mussel reef establishment research programme, with view to determining how the great Hauraki Gulf beds could practicably be restored. Clearer water allows sunlight to penetrate further, and power the carbon-dioxide consuming phytoplankton critical to marine life, and that, indubitably, of humanity.

At the last regular Warkworth Town Hall Talk for 2019, Dr Andrew Jeffs detailed the demise of the great Hauraki Gulf green-lipped mussel reefs, and his phd student Al Alder described the research undertaken since he arrived from Texas.

Mahurangi Action Plan Phase 3

The mussel reef restoration research project, in hindsight, may become to be seen as the beginning of Mahurangi Action Plan Phase 3. In the first, Auckland Regional Council-initiated phase of the Mahurangi Action Plan, the work focused tightly on riparian fencing and planting of riparian margins.

Al Alder, Coromandel mussel farms

Gulf of Mexico Loss is Hauraki Gulf’s Gain: Al Alder, previously at the University of Texas is now a University of Auckland doctoral student working to diminish the barriers to at-scale green-lipped mussel reef restoration. imageUniversity of Auckland

In the second council–community-initiated phase, the plan became more holistic, embracing, for example, but with some reluctance on the council side, the town-basin and navigational dredging now underway by the Mahurangi River Restoration Trust.

The third phase is being led by the community. It was shamed into being, by the need to step up the practical work of sediment mitigation. Because, as much as green-lipped mussels are sediment filters par excellence, the Mahurangi Harbour is also a famously efficient sediment settling basin. Only by far better looking after the watershed, will the mussel reefs have a fighting chance of making the harbour sparkle as it should.

The key to ensuring that the third phase is more productive than the second, is connecting the dots, and the particularly obvious dots are those being created by the network of trails, created, and being created, Ōrewa to Mangawhai.

Plant-and-forget and open-ground harakekeNew Zealand flax, (in this instance) Phormium tenax rather than Phormium colensoi trials

Refocussing on the need to retire pasture and restore with indigenous species, two trials are in the process of being designed. At Mahurangi West, a 2.5-hectare paddock is to be retired and its planting will include various densities and various sizes of harakeke to determine if there is an establishment regime that has a high chance of success with little or no further intervention. The second project will attempt to directly seed harakeke in open-ground nursery beds using Massey University-invented Cross Slot no-tillage technology, by-passing the expensive plug-tray phase that has so far proved indispensable for indigenous species, most of which are excessively vulnerable to desiccation when freshly germinated.

Warkworth Town Hall Talks

From the fractious February town-hall talk, which was to be about exploring alternatives to removing the historic Wilson Weir, but degenerated into ill-humoured anti-Auckland Council weir vs. the whitebait harangue, to the hugely informative October mussel-reef restoration research talk, the 2019 series will culminate on 17 December.

2019 Mahurangi Action annual financial statement

Money in the Bank: Although there was a substantial net income–expenses deficit in 2019, the net surpluses from 2018 and 2017—$14 578—slightly exceeded that. Meantime, as of the annual general meeting, there is $3141.61 in Mahurangi Action Incorporated’s Kiwibank and PayPal accounts, but, as is all-too-usual, it is all spoken for, and then some. statement Mahurangi Action

The talks were savage on the organisation’s finances, until Mahurangi Action and friends, and the Department of Internal Affairs equipped the Warkworth Town Hall with its own audiovisual equipment. A key person, both in his encouragement for the Warkworth Town Hall Talks, and in the installation of the audiovisual equipment, was the late, and truly great, Adrian Hayward, who with his partner Alex, were the team employed by Auckland Council to complete the restoration of the freshly restored 1901 building, by making it the heart of the Mahurangi community. Alex magnificently continues the mission they began together.

The 2020 Warkworth Town Hall Talk series will begin on 27 February, on the fourth-Thursday-of-the-month spot introduced in July 2019, to avoid clashing with some worthy, longer running fixtures.

2019 Mahurangi Regatta

The 2019 Mahurangi Regatta was the fourth since Teak Construction rescued Mahurangi Action from its perennial financial knife-edge. Also to the rescue were members of the Mahurangi East Residents and Ratepayers Association, who manned the free regatta shuttlebus from first thing until Mahurangi West drivers took over for the evening to midnight shift.

The morning-after saw the free barbecues put back into business by Lidgard Sails feeding visiting yacht and boating club members, and the first ‘Up the Mahu!’, in support of Peter Thompson’s initiative to restore the navigability of the Mahurangi River. Tide will prevent a repeat this regatta but will work for further flotilla in 2021. By then, provided that the Mahurangi River Restoration Trust gets the funding it so richly deserves, ‘Up the Mahu!’ could be tide-independent.

Scott Homestead will again be open to visitors and art lovers, featuring hmss Buffalo off Spar Station Cove, freshly commissioned from marine artist Paul Deacon, and the winners of the Snells Beach School art competition.

Warkworth Structure Plan submission

From the sublime preoccupations of the Mahurangi Regatta, Mahurangi Action was rudely pulled back into the grim business of responding to the consequences of the undemocratic, business-as-usual decision that Warkworth was to be a satellite growth centre at the end of a motorway. The potential upside of the deeply questionable direction, so utterly at odds with the region’s stated commitment to compactness.

Be that as it may, Mahurangi Action made its submission, and offered the prayer for a bolder vision, such as:

Warkworth is a satellite town that retains its natural character, and establishes a clear, inviolate ‘wall’ beyond which it will never encroach upon the adjacent rural. Embracing the Mahurangi River, the tidehead town is palpably connected with the Mahurangi Harbour and the Hauraki Gulf. The river is the strong backbone of rich linear parks, paths and cycleways, providing active access throughout the town. Warkworth is compact and surprisingly self-sufficient with plenty of employment, education, shopping and recreation opportunities. Mindful of the existential imperative to rapidly become fossil-fuel-free, Warkworth is the least car-centric country town in Aotearoa.

Mahurangi Coastal Trail

Mahurangi Action and the Mahurangi Coastal Trail Trust have reached another milestone towards realising the Mahurangi Coastal Trail. A memorandum of understanding has been signed between the trust and Auckland Council that provides a framework to, initially, build a footbridge across Te Muri Estuary. The first stage in this project is to engage iwi in the exploration of crossing options—just two of the considerations are the need to spare the ecologically sensitive spit end, and the nearby urupā, from avoidable impact.

The opportunity to progress the crossing of Te Muri Estuary, which has explicit regional parks management plan approval, has put the Pūhoi Rivermouth ferry project on hold. This will also allow a sober review of Pūhoi River crossing options.

hmss Buffalo off Spar Station Cove

Being prepared to punch above its weight has long characterised Mahurangi Action, but, being a small not-for-profit also necessitates grabbing opportunities as they arise. Commissioning marine artist Paul Deacon to produce hmss Buffalo off Spar Station Cove is one such opportunity that availed when the Mahurangi Magazine was asked by Bob Moxon Browneqc for help locating apposite images the chapter of his latest book featuring his antecedent Gordon Davis Browne. Because Browne’s spar station was the first European settlement not only in the Mahurangi, but in the entire Auckland region, and because no pictorial image of it is known to have ever existed…

Coastal heritage art competition for schools

Inspired by the model of the Scottish Art Galleries Annual Art Competition for Schools, Mahurangi Action committee nominee Kelsay Grovehills organised a stunningly successful art competition with the Snells Beach School. The artwork features in the about-to-be-published Mahurangi Cruising Club Yearbook and will be on display in Scott Homestead during the regatta in January.

At the annual general meeting, Kelsay will present plans for a 2020 pilot of an expanded competition for Mahurangi schools. The committee has enthusiastically approved this exciting initiative, but members attending will have the opportunity to put their oars in.

Warkworth Town Hall film society first free screening

Warkworth Town Hall is now equipped to provide a film experience on par with that when the building last served as the local cinema. The final piece of equipment installed, this week, is the subwoofer required to provide soundtracks, and sound effects, with the visceral base notes that are an integral part of a movie’s impact. Contributed by firm friend of the Mahurangi even before he relocated from Oyster Bay, New York, in 2002, J Barry Ferguson has done his late friend Beverly Simmons proud with his unstinting support for her pet project—the 1901 hall’s restoration—ensuring that it successfully regains its place as the town’s natural gathering place.

Sunset Boulevard screens at 2.30 pm Sunday 17 November. free of charge including the popcorn, including afternoon tea, thanks to Auckland Council, thanking Mahurangi Action life member Barry Ferguson.

stvsingle-transferable-vote bicentennial breakfast town-hall talk

Just as protecting the environment of the Mahurangi can’t be considered other than in the context of meaningful climate action, nor can it be optimised in the absence of strong local democracy. All too often, the absence of stvsingle-transferable-vote reduces democracy to voting for the lesser of two evils, for example, the re-election of Phil Goff, with the support of just 17% of registered voters.

2019–2020 Mahurangi Action Incorporated committee

Eight of the nine incumbent committee members are implicitly candidates for re-election:
Tessa Berger (as president) entrepreneur, Rodney Local Board member, chair of Mahurangi Coastal Trail Trust

Cimino Cole (as secretary) Mahurangi Magazine editor, secretary of Mahurangi Coastal Trail Trust

Jim Dollimore managing director of Biomarine

Hugh Gladwell legal consultant, trustee of Jane Gifford Trust and Mahurangi River Restoration Trust

Cluny Macpherson emeritus professor, Massey University

Allison Milne marketing manager

Caitlin Owston-Doyle film crew and stunt woman

Clynt White landscape architect and urban designer

RetiringRachel Lampen environmental management.

Nominated Kelsay Grovehills: former partner of Organisation and Business Development, outgoing editor of the Mahurangi Cruising Club Yearbook nominated by Cimino Cole, seconded by Hugh Gladwell

Nominated Ayla Walker: One Warkworth intern, 2019 Rodney Local Board candidate nominated by Tessa Berger, seconded by Sarah Ransom.

Further nominations are of course welcome, particularly for the perennially vacant position of treasurer—not least of all to spare the secretary working beyond his competence preparing the annual financial statement unsupervised. Although Mahurangi Action’s rules stipulate that nominations should be made by 5 pm on the evening before the annual general meeting, and a minimum number of committee members, the maximum size of the committee is up to the annual general meeting. This means that any nomination of a financial member will likely be accepted.

Agenda for 9 November 2019

Meeting opens2 pm

Apologies Ayla Walker

Election of officers and committee Call for further nominations.

Minutes of annual general meeting Minutes of the 14 November 2018 annual general meeting are appended below.

Annual report To save time at the meeting, the annual report was published online on the Mahurangi Magazine and notified at 7.02 am 8 November 2019.

Financial Current Kiwibank and PayPal balances total $3141.61.

Coastal heritage art competition for schools

Kelsay Grovehills will describe the pilot Mahurangi coastal heritage art competition for schools.

General business  as arising from the annual report.

Further items for agenda Items further to the agenda will be noted and discussed under general business

Meeting close3 pm

Afternoon tea Provided the power in the Old Masonic Hall is working—apparently the lights aren’t!

Draft minutes of 2019 annual general meeting

Old Masonic Hall – 9 November 2019

Meeting opened at 2.08 PM

Attending were Tessa Berger, Jefferson Chapple, Cimino Cole, Kelsay Grovehills, Cluny Macpherson, Allison Milne, and John Nealie.

Apologies were received from J Barry Ferguson, Mike Neil, Ayla Walker, and Clynt White.

Election of officers and committee

Incumbent officers and committee members Tessa Berger as president, Cimino Cole as secretary, Jim Dollimore, Hugh Gladwell, Cluny Macpherson, Allison Milne, Caitlin Owston-Doyle, and Clynt White were re-elected, and Kelsay Grovehills nominated by Cimino Cole and seconded by Hugh Gladwell 19 September 2019 and Ayla Walker nominated by Tessa Berger and Sarah Ransom 8 November 2019 were elected moved Cimino Cole seconded Cluny Macpherson

Minutes of previous annual general meeting

Resolved that the minutes of the 14 November 2018 annual general meeting as published in the Mahurangi Magazine 6.12 AM 9 November be approved. Moved Tessa Berger seconded Sarah Ransom

Annual financial statement

Resolved that the 2019 annual financial statement as published in the Mahurangi Magazine 6.12 AM 9 November be approved. Moved Tessa Berger seconded Cluny Macpherson

Coastal heritage art competition for schools

Kelsay Grovehills described the Mahurangi coastal heritage annual art competition for schools and details of the 2020 pilot involving three primary schools, as approved by the Mahurangi Action committee. Resolved that meeting endorses the Mahurangi coastal heritage annual art competition as a Mahurangi Action project and that Kelsay Grovehills be the coastal heritage art competition for schools director. Moved Cimino Cole seconded Allison Milne

Old Masonic Hall blank river-facing wall

As alluded to in the 28 October 2019 Mahurangi Magazine notifying the new annual general meeting date and venue, meeting in the Old Masonic Hall provided the opportunity to explore uses of the space that might better celebrate its splendid riverside location. Jefferson Chapple introduced the exploration with the philosophy whereby the first duty was duty was to repair the worst features of the site, and urged the test of whether a solution was sound was the ‘ah-ha!’, or ‘of course!’ response.

Tessa Berger urged that Mahurangi Action, if it was going to have any, or significant, influence on the space, needed to familiarise itself the broader property strategy of Auckland Council, and council-controlled organisation Panuku, on both sides of Baxter Street, and to take the initiative in exploring how that area might best serve the Mahurangi community.

Sunset Boulevard screening

Attendees were reminded of the Sunday 17 November first, free, Warkworth Town Hall film society screening of Sunset Boulevard thanking Mahurangi Action life member J Barry Ferguson for his major contribution to the Warkworth Town Hall audiovisual equipment, and that Barry would be signing copies of his book Flowers Are My Passport, with all proceeds of sales further benefitting the town hall.

Meeting closed at 3.48 PM

Minutes of 2018 annual general meeting

14 November 2018 – Warkworth Town Hall

Election of committee It was unanimously resolved that incumbent committee members, and Allison Milne and Rachel Lampen be elected moved by Hugh Gladwell, seconded by Allison Milne

Annual report To save time at the meeting, which was tagged to a town-hall talk, the annual report was available prior to the meeting online on the Mahurangi Magazine since 1.23 am 10 November 2018, was not read or distributed in hardcopy format.

Previous minutes The previously circulated minutes of the 17 December 2017 annual general meeting held at Scott Homestead were accepted as a true and correct record moved by Tessa Berger, seconded by Jim Dollimore

Financial The current bank balance was recorded as $8952.45, and the financial statement published online was approved moved by Hugh Gladwell, seconded by Tessa Berger

Warkworth town basin Opportunity for modelling options for enhancing the amenity value of the town basin was discussed. It was agreed that a future town-hall talk should focus on utilising the newly dredged Mahurangi River and making the town river-facing.

Warkworth Town Hall naming sign The inequity of the community having to pay resource consent approval for a naming sign for the Warkworth Town Hall was passionately stated.


This annual report remains a work in progress; please bear with…


Editorial independence Although this article serves as Mahurangi Action’s annual report, it is important to note that the Mahurangi Magazine is editorially independent from Mahurangi Action Incorporated. Ultimately, post internet, the written record of Mahurangi Action is contained in myriad emails documenting decisions authorised explicitly or implicitly by the annually elected committee.