The ongoing degradation of the Bay of Islands has brought Maori and Pakeha groups together to work towards restoring the Bay.
As an integral part of the project, the Bay of Islands Maritime Park “umbrella” group initiated a workshop between Maori groups such as Nga Hapu o Te Rawhiti Marae, Te Roopu Kaitiaki Whakature I nga Taonga o Tangaroa, and Te Runanga a Iwi o Ngapuhi, other stakeholders such as Recreational Fishers, the Agencies, yacht clubs and the tourist operators.
The result was that the Bay of Islands was included in the Coastal Survey. Three vessels are surveying the north eastern coastline from Spirits Bay to Bream bay to map the coast above and below the water. Phase 1 swath mapping has been carried out in the Bay of Islands and you may have seen the vessels around Rawhiti.
Phase 2 of the project, involving a survey of seabed habitats and biodiversity, is being modified to reflect local concerns. Sedimentation and water pollution were seen to be the major problems for the Bay, followed closely by severely diminished fish stocks.
A TRAION representative (George Riley) and another will assist the 20/20 Survey team governance. The hapu and the Maritime Park members with the scientific design of this biological phase 2 of the project planned to start around May 2009. This phase will primarily be focussed on gathering data on Biodiversity, Water Quality and Sediments.
All the survey and research results from this project should be available by the end of June 2010, with some results possibly available sooner.
At this stage, it is hoped that hapu, runanga, other stakeholders and governmental bodies will work closely together to put all the data and findings into practice.