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The Waiheke Marine Project Welcomes Government Announcement On Sea Change – Hauraki Gulf Marine Spatial Plan

Fresh from hosting a Marine Action Showcase webinar in the weekend, the Waiheke Marine Project is happy to see the Government launch its eagerly awaited strategy for implementing the Sea Change plan. At the webinar, 18 speakers showed the depth and breadth of local work that is happening for the marine environment. This action is heartwarming yet it is just the tip of the iceberg of action that is desperately needed to regenerate the mauri of the Hauraki Gulf.

The Waiheke Marine Project is well aware of the nested place that Waiheke Island holds in Tīkapa Moana / Te Moananui-ā-Toi, with activity in the Gulf directly impacting Waiheke and vice versa. The significance of the Waiheke Marine Project was recently acknowledged at the 24th May meeting of the Hauraki Gulf Forum. Here the HGF unanimously endorsed the work of the project and the 9 commitments to protect and regenerate Waiheke’s marine environment.

These 9 commitments that were agreed to by 76 diverse voices at the Waiheke Marine Project’s Future Search hui late last year are fully complementary to the original Sea Change plan that was delivered in 2016. Like Sea Change; the Waiheke Marine Project is focused on issues of fisheries management, habitat restoration, aquaculture, marine biosecurity, marine protection, protected species and Ahu Moana (mana whenua and local community management of local areas).

While the Government has been fine tuning its strategy to implement Sea Change; those dealing with the marine crisis on their doorsteps are doing what they can to practically respond. As noted by World Wildlife Fund in their press release on the 21st June, “ iwi and community groups such as Ngāti Paoa and the Waiheke Marine Project, The Noises Marine Restoration Project, Ngāti Hei and Revive our Gulf, have valiantly stepped into the gap left by Government inaction.”

The Waiheke Marine Project now requests the Government to wrap around the ‘valiant efforts’ of the project and our neighbours in Tīkapa Moana / Te Moananui-ā-Toi. With Government resources and commitment to ease the dysfunctional legislation governing our oceans, ground-up action can indeed turn the tide towards thriving oceans.

Although the Government Response strategy currently does not identify Waiheke Island as one of its sites for Marine Protected Areas, we are hopeful that this will be quickly remedied in the collaborative implementation of Sea Change. The Waiheke Marine Project is already collaborating in implementing its 9 commitments and welcomes the super charge that Government support will bring to its efforts.

For more information on the Waiheke Marine Project, see www.waihekemarineproject.org

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