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Guardianship of the Changing Waters

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The November 2016 earthquake caused uplift along the Kaikōura coast. Large amounts of marine species were left high and dry. It is important that different groups work together for future protection of the Kaikōura marine environment.

Kaikōura marine environment interest groups

The sea is very important to many people for different reasons in Kaikōura. These people can be put into groups:

There is a need to manage how these groups work within the marine environment. 

Before the November 2016 earthquake, many of these groups had been worried about the marine environment. After nine years of work and discussion, a marine strategy was agreed on.

The Kaikōura Marine Management Act 2014

The Kaikōura (Te Tai-ō-Marokura) Marine Management Bill was signed into law as an Act of Parliament on Wednesday 6 August 2014. The Act created a way to manage the coast and sea around Kaikōura (Te Tai-ō-Marokura). It included:

Role of Te Korowai o Te Tai ō Marokura

Te Korowai o Te Tai ō Marokura (The Kaikōura Marine Guardians) is an advisory committee for Te Whata Kai o Rakihouia i Te Tai ō Marokura/Kaikōura Marine Area. Its members come from a wide range of groups. They all share an interest in the coast and sea around Kaikōura.

Te Korowai works with all groups to look after the marine environment. Now, more than ever, it is important that this group effort continues post-earthquake.

Earthquake damage to the Marine Coastal Area

The November 2016 earthquake caused different amounts of uplift along the coast. Large amounts of marine species were left high and dry because of this uplift, such as:

  • pāua
  • crayfish/kōura
  • shellfish in general
  • inshore finfish
  • kelp forest
  • microalgae systems like ‘coraline algae’ (pink paint).

Jason Ruawai, a representative on Te Korowai o Te Tai ō Marokura and Chair of the Pāua Fishery Group, has been very involved in the marine management of the area.

“The obvious mortality of the life living in the environment is a tragic consequence of the uplift, but it is only a snapshot of what that area had been producing over history. Now, in terms of biodiversity, we still have all the same species but there is less habitat for them to occupy. We need to manage our impact to this environment carefully over the next years.”

Ecosystem recovery

The marine ecosystem will never be the same. But research is showing that it is bouncing back for some species. NIWA found signs of recovery in the Kaikōura Canyon seabed 10 months after the earthquake. Kaikōura High School students are learning about guardianship of the ecosystem through a programme to monitor and reseed pāua stocks.

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November 2016 Earthquake

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A new marine reserve was part of the Kaikōura Marine Management Act. This image shows Māori Labour MP Rino Tirikatene & Local Runanga Member/Department of Conservation worker Brett Cowan at the opening of the Hikurangi Marine Reserve. Image: Ailsa Howard.

Team Te Korowai at the opening of the Hikurangi Marine Reserve. Te Korowai o Te Tai ō Marokura (The Kaikōura Marine Guardians) is an advisory committee for Te Whata Kai o Rakihouia i Te Tai ō Marokura/Kaikōura Marine Area. Image: Ailsa Howard.

The November 2016 earthquake caused different amounts of uplift along the coast. There was 6 metres of uplift at Waipapa Bay and 1.5 metres at the Kaikōura peninsula. Image: NZTA.

Huge amounts of marine species were left high and dry because of this uplift. How have people been affected by this? Image: NIWA.

NIWA have found signs of recovery in the Kaikōura Canyon seabed 10 months after the earthquake. What juvenile marine creatures are these? Image: Niwa.

Kaikōura High School students are learning about guardianship of the ecosystem through a programme to monitor and reseed pāua stocks. Image: Kaikoura High School.