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Ngāti Manuhiri Settlement Trust Launch Summer Programme To Fight Invasive Seaweed

Ngāti Manuhiri Settlement Trust (the Trust) is launching Mahere Ārai Moana Raumati, a summer marine monitoring programme to ramp up efforts to fight the invasive seaweed, exotic caulerpa, in Te Moananui-ā-Toi / Hauraki Gulf.

Exotic caulerpa, discovered near Kawau Island in July, is a foreign seaweed that forms dense mats across the seabed, smothering native plants and disrupting the fragile marine ecosystem that our kai moana, like crayfish and scallops, rely on.

The programme sits under Te Au ō Moana, the Trust's wider oceans strategy for all issues related to the marine-ecosystem. The summer programme will be an extension of the Trust’s efforts which began in July this year when Te Wero Nui was launched to raise awareness of the discovery of caulerpa in Te Moananui-ā-Toi.

“We are incredibly concerned at the pace with which officials have responded to this biosecurity threat so are taking steps to stop it from having an irreversible impact,” says the Trust’s Chief Executive Nicola MacDonald.

“For the past six months we have led work to combat caulerpa and endeavoured to work with officials, but we are no longer willing to wait for reports and hui before decisive action is taken.”

The Trust is now expanding its efforts to protect all aspects of Te Moananui-ā-Toi with Te Au ō Moana and users within the rohe should expect to see more of them in and around the moana this summer, beginning this Thursday 21 December.

Te Au ō Moana includes the creation and distribution of informational resources, boats on the water to assist as needed, disposable bags for boaties and fishers to handle caulerpa if it’s found, and informational resources to support all users of Te Moananui-ā-Toi.

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“Caulerpa is a massive threat to the region’s rich biodiversity. We do not have the luxury of time, we must act. We hope the government sees this as a call to act faster and with more care when it comes to protecting our habitats and marine life,” says Nicola MacDonald.

Note for Editors

Media are invited to join Ngāti Manuhiri Settlement Trust on the water from 1pm onwards on Thursday 21 December 2023. Please contact Holly Bennett if you would like to join as space is limited on the Trust's boats.

About Ngāti Manuhiri Settlement Trust

Ngāti Manuhiri Settlement Trust is a post settlement governance entity (PSGE) who are the mandated and approved entity to represent Ngāti Manuhiri and its environs.

The principle purpose of the Trust is to represent the interests of Ngāti Manuhiri.

More information can be found at: www.ngatimanuhiri.iwi.nz

About Te Au ō Moana

Te Au ō Moana stands as the cornerstone oceans strategy meticulously crafted by the Ngāti Manuhiri Settlement Trust. This strategic framework encapsulates a wide array of efforts and visionary projects aimed at restoration, mitigation, and the safeguarding of our marine environments for generations to come. It serves as a holistic blueprint, unifying the Trust's dedicated leadership and execution of initiatives intended to revitalise, preserve, and shield our marine ecosystems. Through this multifaceted strategy, the Trust endeavours to uphold their commitment to sustainable stewardship, nurturing a harmonious balance between community engagement, ecological revival, and the long-term protection of our precious marine resources.

About Te Wero Nui

In July, the Trust launched Te Wero Nui, a campaign to combat caulerpa. Contacting scientists in the US who had successfully eliminated caulerpa in California and funding their visit to Aotearoa.The US experts told the Trust that Aotearoa has the resources to tackle this issue but lacks the national awareness of how serious the problem is.

The Trust took Te Wero Nui on the road in August to raise awareness about the presence of caulerpa in Te Moananui-ā-Toi, and began advocating for minimally destructive removal processes like taking divers out on the water to remove caulerpa by hand.

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