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Maunganui rāhui 14 years on

Updated: Mar 19


Maunganui Bay - Deep Water Cove with Cape Brett in the background
Maunganui Bay - Deep Water Cove with Cape Brett in the background

On Sunday the 19th of March 2024, 48 participants were up at the crack of dawn to explore the Maunganui Bay (Deep Water Cove) rāhui with Experiencing Marine Reserves (EMR). The brisk southerly had everyone rugged up warm as the sun peeked over the horizon. The conditions were perfect to weave our way through the many motu of the Bay of Islands towards Maunganui Bay.



We arrived to the bay to meet up with the TriOceans rangatahi and Vicky and Chris from Fish Forever who were ready to help us as snorkel guides and to share the history of the rāhui tapu.



Vicky from Fish Forever snorkelling at White Reef
Vicky from Fish Forever snorkelling at White Reef - part of the Maunganui rāhui

The rāhui was established in 2010 under the Fisheries Act by local hapū Ngati Kuta and Patukeha of Te Rawhiti. This temporary closure has been rolled over every two years since its inception. In 2023, the Northland Regional Council brought in two Te Hā Tangaroa protection areas. One of which is an extension of the rāhui tapu in Maunganui Bay.



Event organiser Ray Downing saying, “We are thankful for Northland Regional Council sponsoring our event again this year. The Maunganui Bay Snorkel Day has become a highlight for a lot of local families and enables those that might not usually have the opportunity to see what marine protection looks like in the Bay of Islands. It is also great for us to collaborate with other passionate organisations such as Tri Oceans and Fish Forever. The biodiversity of the bay gets better each year we run this event. We were treated with excellent conditions this year.”


Maunganui rāhui with hundreds of Tāmure (snapper)
Maunganui rāhui with hundreds of Tāmure (snapper)

Once we were safely delivered to the beach - without wet feet! The day began with a karakia done by Te Rau, one of the rangatahi in the TriOceans Marine Kaitiaki Course. It was Te Rau's first time as a snorkel guide for EMR but his enthusiasm and passion for te moana was infectious. With his group excitedly finding an eagle ray in the shallows and a huge marblefish.


Te Rau from the Marine Kaitiaki Course finding an eagle ray in the shallows
Te Rau from the Marine Kaitiaki Course finding an eagle ray in the shallows

On the ferry trip home we spoke to Teresa Jackson who said, "I've been to Deep Water Cove before but it was Zak's first time." Her son Zak Walker (10) exclaiming, "I saw Sandager's wrasse, red moki, lots of of little fish swimming around us as well as a puffer fish! There was an eagle ray that swam right under us. Then there was another eagle ray lying underneath us just having a nap"


Tom saying, "I don't know what I was expecting, but not this much support and an explanation of the rāhui. We had an amazing day."


Kitted up for a snorkel in the rāhui
Kitted up for a snorkel in the rāhui

This event was funded by Northland Regional Council, MfE through the Wai Connection Project and supported by TriOceans and Fish Forever. Thank you to Island Getaways for getting us there, it would have been a very long swim.


Images taken by Lorna Doogan - contact lorna@mountainstosea.org.nz for use.


 






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