This milestone event will be marked by the attendance of the Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage, as well as talks from DOC and Ngati Konohi Chief Judge Heemi Taumaunu about the historical significance of the reserve to iwi and the joint partnership with DOC in the establishment of the reserve.
A range of other activities are planned from 1 pm, including snorkelling, a walk to the pa site to learn about the history, the announcement of the photo competition winners and the cutting of the marine reserve’s birthday cake.
Chairperson of the Marine Reserve Committee Jacqueline Blake said the committee are looking forward to the occasion.
“The Marine Reserve Committee is very proud of the development of the marine reserve in the 20 years since its establishment. We acknowledge Ngati Konohi, Marine Reserve Committee members past and present, DOC, the Gisborne District Council, community groups, and the public for their support over the years.”
“We are encouraging families to bring a picnic, sunscreen and mosquito repellent and enjoy the celebration and activities organised for the day. The marine reserve is strictly protected, so at the end of the day please take your rubbish and memories, and preserve our marine reserve for the education and enjoyment of our future generations.”
The reserve was established in 1999 as a result of a joint application by Ngati Konohi and the Department of Conservation. After 20 years of protection the benefits are evident with an abundance and variety of marine life within the reserve.
“Highlights over the last twenty years have ranged from increases in fish abundance and scientific research to road improvements that have allowed the community to learn more about this unique environment,” says DOC’s Biodiversity Ranger Jamie Quirk.
“The marine reserve is a valuable place for wildlife and people alike, and we’re looking forward to celebrating this place this weekend.”
20th-anniversary celebration/Family Fun Day Details
When: Saturday, 16 November 2009 1 pm – 4 pm
Where: Te Tapuwae o Rongokako Marine Reserve, Pouawa entry point
Free bus transport is available from town to the reserve and return. To register your bus seat contact Sandra or Anna at DOC phone 8690460 by Wednesday 13 November. In case of bad weather, the family fun day will be postponed to the following Saturday 23 November 10 am – 1 pm (to coincide with tides).