Scoop Independent News
29 October 2012
On 15th November 2012, a coalition of environmental groups will begin an epic sea-paddle, from Cape Taranaki to Piha. Their goal is to raise awareness of intertwined issues of seabed mining and the plight of the critically endangered Maui’s Dolphin.
In a joint initiative that will span 350km of ocean and take 14 days, Kiwis Against Seabed Mining (KASM) and Surfers for Cetaceans (S4C) members, will use a variety of self propelled vessels, including SUP’s, to make an epic land and sea journey, paying homage to the Maui dolphin, as they glide through the territory of the endangered mammal. Guest paddlers will be joining the epic journey in sections.
Aside from focused community discussions in a multitude of small towns, the groups are holding three major events (New Plymouth 16/17 Nov, Raglan 24 Nov and Piha 1 Dec), to mark milestones of the journey, and celebrate the marine environment that communities benefit so much from, and hold so dearly.
A Hoe spokesperson and internationally renown Kiwi surfer, and co-founder of S4C Dave Rastavich (“Rasta”), said recently, ” People the world over come to experience the raw, untouched waters of New Zealand, and celebrate a space not yet disturbed by industrial humanity. Yet, if widespread seabed mining reaches the coastal waters of this country, the allure of visiting a once pristine place will disappear.”
“This coast, including Taranaki’s jewels, Raglan’s points, and Auckland’s beaches, are Aotearoa’s spiritual center for surfers. All would be threatened if the sand flow is interrupted, and a coastline littered with flawless waves could be irretrievably altered. As well, seabed mining will undoubtedly threaten the future of the critically endangered Popoto/Maui’s Dolphin. On those grounds alone it should be prohibited,” says Rastavich.
Proposals to mine the West Coast Seabed are firmly opposed by a range of business groups and environmental organisations, including SEAFIC (The Seafood Industry Council), Sea Shepherd NZ, Project Jonah, Sustainable Coastlines, Mauis SOS, Greenpeace, WWF, Forest and Bird, and Surfbreak Protection Society.
Leading kiwi individuals including All Blacks star Josh Kronfeld, and ex-Waitakare Mayor Bob Harvey, have also criticised the plans in public, with Kronfeld describing them recently as “a blindside hit”.
KASM spokesperson Phil McCabe, a Raglan tourist operator, states, “Mining the west coast seabed for the purposes of exporting raw ore is an economic folly, that will degrade the Tasman ecosystem and deliver few returns to the nation. Foreign shareholders will reap the profit and we will have to deal with the impacts, which would likely include erosion and less fish in the water”.
“The Taranaki and Waikato west coasts live off revenue generated by both recreational and commercial fishing and surf tourism. Seabed mining directly threatens the revenue from both sources,” McCabe says.
As a prelude to the paddle, McCabe with his partner and their 11 year old daughter, will be walking the stretch of 150 km stretch of coastline, and engaging with the diverse communities along the way, commencing with an appointment with the Whanganui Mayor Annete Main and Council in chambers, followed by four publicly notified meetings along the route.
The exhausting itinerary will eventually include stops at every west coast community between Whanganui and Piha, with a range of public meetings and celebrations on the way (see itinerary below).
“A HOE” COASTAL WALK
30th Oct- 6th Nov: Opunake to Whanganui
A small group comprising KASM chairperson Phil McCabe, with his partner and daughter, will walk the South Taranaki coastline
30th Oct: Opunake Board Riders Club, 7.00pm. Public information meeting
31st Oct 7.00am: Walkers send off, Opunake Beach
1st Nov: Manaia, Public information meeting
3rd Nov: Patea
4th Nov: Waverley
5th Nov: Hawera Community Rooms 6pm – Public information Meeting, Hawera Council Building – Council Meeting, 10 min pres
6th Nov: Walkers arrive into Whanganui. 7pm Public Information Evening, 256 Wicksteed Street
7th Nov 7pm: Public Information evening. New Plymouth Sport Fishing and Underwater Club
8th Nov 5-7pm: Public Information Meeting followed by submission writing workshop, Raglan Town Hall Supper Room
“A HOE” COASTAL PADDLE
Cape Egmont to Piha- 16th Nov- 1 Dec
Internationally acclaimed surfer/ environmentalist and co founder of ‘Surfers 4 Cetaceans’
Dave Rastavich, will paddle the whole stretch of coast between Cape Egmont and Piha with guest paddlers joining the epic journey in sections. He will be dropping into all coastal communities along the way to discuss these issues, listening to community sentiment, and exploring options for responses to mining proposals. Aside from focused community discussions, KASM are hosting three major day/night events at New Plymouth on 16/17 Nov, Raglan 24 Nov, and Piha 1 Dec.