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Marchers Keep Maui’s to the fore

9 July 2014

Media Release

Marchers Keep Maui’s to the fore

After successful marches around the country, Maui’s dolphin campaigners continue their pressure on the Government with a march to John Key’s electorate office in Kumeu on Sunday 13 July at 10am, leaving from the Kumeu Arts Centre at 10.30, 300 Main Road Kumeu.

Organisers say the catalyst for this is to call for action from the government to save the rarest “and loveliest” of dolphins.

Christine Rose, Chair of Maui’s & Hector’s Dolphins Education/Action says “New Zealanders, and especially coastal communities, love Maui’s dolphins.“

“Set nets cause about 95% of Maui’s deaths caused by humans”. But Mrs Rose says “those nets remain in most of the dolphin habitat”. “Now the Maui’s – and their coastal home, face added threats such as new oil and gas mining”.

“The Government also recently reintroduced ring nets into the Manukau Harbour, known Maui’s habitat, layering threat upon threat’.

“Almost everyone wants Maui’s dolphins saved” says Mrs Rose, “from school kids to scientists, and everyone in between, here, and overseas, right up to esteemed biologist Jane Goodall”. “Maui’s dolphins can’t handle a single human induced death if they are to survive. The Marine Mammal Sanctuary should actually provide sanctuary – not be open to fishing and mining” she says.

“The march this Sunday is part of a rolling campaign, part of a wider movement, involving other NGOs and concerned citizens, “and this is a reminder that we will not give up”.

Speakers include Riley Hathaway, child presenter of ‘Young Ocean Explorers’ from TV’s What Now programme, Phil McCabe from Kiwis Against Seabed Mining, and representatives from NGOs and political parties.

“We know this is an issue of widespread importance to New Zealanders across the political spectrum and that public opinion is on the side of the wee dolphins”. “But it’s especially important to West Coasters. For us seeing Maui’s has become almost mythical and a few have been lucky enough to surf or swim with them.” Rose says there have been several sightings of Maui’s dolphins off Muriwai as late as May this year.

ENDS

NOTES:

The Auckland March for Maui’s: 10am assemble at Kumeu Arts Centre, 300 Main Rd, Kumeu for 10.30 march.

Featuring speeches from MPs and NGOs, protesters carrying dolphins and banners, street theatre

Maui’s dolphins are the world’s rarest and smallest marine mammal, found only in New Zealand’s inshore waters. Only about 55 remain.

Maui’s are concentrated along Auckland’s West Coast but can be found from Northland to beyond Taranaki. Maui’s are fully protected only in a small area off Taranaki.

Their longshore habitat includes the West Coast from Maunganui Bluff in Northland to at least Taranaki and inside West Coast harbours. Offshore they range out to at least 7nm.

A ‘family’ group or pod of 7-8 Maui’s dolphins lives off Muriwai-Te One One Rangitira and can sometimes be seen from shore or interacting with surfers.

Gillnetting accounts for 95% of their human induced deaths, and is allowed in their habitat anywhere beyond 2nm from shore.

The Government recently confirmed a block offer for new oil and gas extraction in the Maui’s habitat, a Marine Mammal Sanctuary (MMS).

In the last couple of weeks a protest outside Simon Bridges’ office (Minister for Energy and Resources) attracted 350 protestors. A lunchtime march in Wellington on 2 July also received good support, despite wild weather. Esteemed biologist Jane Goodall condemned New Zealand’s treatment of Maui’s dolphins and our plans to expand oil and gas drilling in their Marine Mammal Sanctuary. And a Canadian expert on the impacts of seismic testing on cetaceans warned against it here.


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