The Ngāti Manuhiri Settlement Trust hosted Minister of Conservation, Eugene Sage's visit to Mahurangi Harbour along with the University of Auckland, The Nature Conservancy and the Department of Conservation. The roopu went to witness for themselves the fruits of the shellfish restoration programme.
The Minister’s visit was part of the Minister’s visit to Tamaki Makaurau as part of Sea Week and as part of the release of the ‘State of the Gulf’ Report.
"If we can restore the mussel beds over extensive areas we can restore the health of Tikapa Moana – Te Moana Nui ō Toi," Minister Sage says.
Mussel reefs once covered over 1,200 square kilometres of the Hauraki Gulf seafloor. However, industrial harvesting from 1910 to the 1960s removed the majority of the area for mussel reefs.
"That's what we've lost in the Hauraki Gulf, there were huge areas of wild mussel beds in the Gulf and they were fished out last century and what we are trying to do is make some progress into putting those beds back in the Hauraki Gulf," marine scientist Dr Andrew Jeffs says.
Following the minister's visit to Mahurangi Bay, she was welcomed onto Motu Hawere Goat Island by Ngāti Manuhiri Settlement Trust representatives and department staff managing marine reserve compliance.
"We want to have the environment and our tāonga here for all the future generations so this project is immense for us," Terrence 'Mook' Hohneck, of Ngāti Manuhiri, says.
"We want to be able to use our own resources and our own people to work in these partnerships."
The tour concluded with a visit to Leigh Laboratory and Discovery Centre to meet university staff and learn more about the research taking place at the centre. The visit was covered by Māori Television by the Te Ao Māori News team and aired at 5:42pm on 29 February. Click here to view the story
Ngāti Manuhiri Settlement Trust