Date: 27 November 2009
Photos that captured an appreciation of Te Tapuwae o Rongokako Marine Reserve’s beauty and value to the community were the winners in the photo competition (theme: Happy 10th Anniversary Te Tapuwae o Rongokako Marine Reserve) announced at last weekend’s Family Fun Day.
Trudi Ngawhare, Ranger (Community Relations) said the first place winner was Sarah Varenne who received the 1st prize of two Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk passes for three nights.
“Sarah’s image depicted the beauty of nature’s elements on the marine reserve. Second place went to Duke Hauiti whose image captured the value of family enjoyment, encouraging our next generation to care for our natural heritage and third place to Renate Brunner. The People’s Choice Award winner selected by the public on the day was Whangara School. Highly commended awards went to Ian Benson and Sherolyn van den Brink” said Ms Ngawhare.
The photo competition attracted eleven entries which depicted a range of settings from scenic and natural beauty to the value to schools and families. There was awesome support from the local community and businesses. All the photo competition entries are now on display at the Department of Conservation (DOC) Office for a month.
Earlier in the afternoon, Hone Taumaunu on behalf of Ngati Konohi; and Andy Bassett of DOC; acknowledged the work and people involved with the marine reserve’s establishment which began twenty years ago in 1989. The achievements in preserving the marine species within the reserve in the first ten years were also emphasised. Derek Lardelli also spoke on behalf of Ngati Konohi reiterating the comments made by Hone.
Debbie Freeman (DOC Scientist) spoke briefly about some of the monitoring research undertaken in the marine reserve. Of note, was the information gathered from a three-year project which involved monitoring several thousand tagged crayfish to study their movement patterns and growth rates within and outside the marine reserve.
“Te Tapuwae o Rongokakao Marine Reserve has provided a place to study species such as crayfish in their natural sizes and abundance, and gives us a glimpse of what the New Zealand marine environment used to be like. There have been some spectacular changes in the marine life here over the last 10 years and it’s exciting to think about what the future holds for this special place” said Ms Freeman.
At the conclusion of the formalities, Jacqueline Haapu (Chairperson, Te Tapuwae o Rongokako Marine Reserve Committee) invited other committee members to join her and Andy Bassett (DOC) to cut the 10th birthday cake to choruses of “Happy 10th Birthday.”