Community day exploring marine reserve

Two free guided sessions will give participants chance to snorkel at Te Tapuwae o Rongokako Marine Reserve.

Two free guided sessions will give participants chance to snorkel at Te Tapuwae o Rongokako Marine Reserve.

ON SATURDAY there is a unique opportunity to explore life under the sea at Te Tapuwae o Rongokako Marine Reserve.

In two free guided sessions, people will have the chance to snorkell at the reserve and learn about the area’s history and marine diversity.

“The idea is to bring awareness about managing the coastal environment, why we have reserves, the importance of marine diversity and ultimately showing people that we have this amazing environment right on our back doorstep,” says Amy Hardy of He Awa Ora He Tai Ora/Healthy Rivers Living Sea Education Trust, which is running the sessions with support from Experiencing Marine Reserves.

While the weather is not looking too flash on Saturday, Ms Hardy says they will make a call early on the morning about whether it will go ahead. March 25 is the back-up day.

The event was planned for Seaweek but was postponed to coincide with low tide.

This “coastal marine adventure” includes snorkelling among the reef life and guided walking tours along the coastal environment.

Under the water are a range of shellfish including East Coast staples paua, kina and crayfish, and many different fish.

“The visibility is usually quite good. It is pretty beautiful out there,” Ms Hardy says.

Speakers on the day will provide a background to the history of the area and the people, and the establishment of the marine reserve as part of a wider vision of enhanced coastal management.

The reserve protects 2450 hectares of the coastline. It was the largest mainland coastal marine reserve in New Zealand when established in 1999 and was the result of many years of work by joint applicants Ngati Konohi and the Department of Conservation.

The reserve is special in that it contains eight marine habitat types including inshore reef, rocky intertidal platforms and sediment flats, that are representative of the marine area between East Cape and Mahia Peninsula.

There will be two sessions involving both a walking tour and snorkel session on Saturday.

The day will open at 9am with the first group in the water by 10.30am and the second at 12.30pm, but people are encouraged to arrive at 9am for a full day of adventure.

Wetsuits, snorkels and masks will be provided but people are encouraged to bring their own equipment if they can as there is limited supply.

■ For more information and to find out if the event is going ahead on Saturday contact Ms Hardy on 0277139152 or Murray Palmer on 0211771926. Gisborne radio stations will broadcast information on Saturday morning also.

ON SATURDAY there is a unique opportunity to explore life under the sea at Te Tapuwae o Rongokako Marine Reserve.

In two free guided sessions, people will have the chance to snorkell at the reserve and learn about the area’s history and marine diversity.

“The idea is to bring awareness about managing the coastal environment, why we have reserves, the importance of marine diversity and ultimately showing people that we have this amazing environment right on our back doorstep,” says Amy Hardy of He Awa Ora He Tai Ora/Healthy Rivers Living Sea Education Trust, which is running the sessions with support from Experiencing Marine Reserves.

While the weather is not looking too flash on Saturday, Ms Hardy says they will make a call early on the morning about whether it will go ahead. March 25 is the back-up day.

The event was planned for Seaweek but was postponed to coincide with low tide.

This “coastal marine adventure” includes snorkelling among the reef life and guided walking tours along the coastal environment.

Under the water are a range of shellfish including East Coast staples paua, kina and crayfish, and many different fish.

“The visibility is usually quite good. It is pretty beautiful out there,” Ms Hardy says.

Speakers on the day will provide a background to the history of the area and the people, and the establishment of the marine reserve as part of a wider vision of enhanced coastal management.

The reserve protects 2450 hectares of the coastline. It was the largest mainland coastal marine reserve in New Zealand when established in 1999 and was the result of many years of work by joint applicants Ngati Konohi and the Department of Conservation.

The reserve is special in that it contains eight marine habitat types including inshore reef, rocky intertidal platforms and sediment flats, that are representative of the marine area between East Cape and Mahia Peninsula.

There will be two sessions involving both a walking tour and snorkel session on Saturday.

The day will open at 9am with the first group in the water by 10.30am and the second at 12.30pm, but people are encouraged to arrive at 9am for a full day of adventure.

Wetsuits, snorkels and masks will be provided but people are encouraged to bring their own equipment if they can as there is limited supply.

■ For more information and to find out if the event is going ahead on Saturday contact Ms Hardy on 0277139152 or Murray Palmer on 0211771926. Gisborne radio stations will broadcast information on Saturday morning also.

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