Regenerating the kelp forests of Tutukaka Harbour: A Community-based Collaborative Regeneration and Reseach Project
First kelplings “planted” at Philip Island
We had a great turnout on the morning of Sunday 11th Dec for the first of our kelp regeneration “plant outs”. Of course, we don’t actually plant the kelp in the sand, but instead we are carefully placing the “Green Gravel” in nooks and crannies on the reef. Green gravel is the name of the kelp propagation technique we are trialling with the help of researchers from Massey University. The baby kelplings come from the reproductive tissue (sorus) collected from beach-cast kelp right here on our coast. The zoospores from the sorus attach themselves to the gravel (also collected from local beaches) and after about three months the kelplings are large enough to be deployed onto the reef.
On Sunday we deployed 180 rocks covered in baby kelplings. Half of them we placed in an area of reef where we will continue to manage the kina population, and the other half were placed in our control site that has no kina management. This will allow us to monitor survival rates and growth rates in both managed and un-managed areas. The researchers from Massey, Beau and Ella, will visit every two months to take detailed measurements of growth rates and survival, but we will be monitoring their progress at least fortnightly to keep an eye on how they are doing. On Monday 12th we collected more sorus tissue and more beach stones to get the next batch of kelplings underway.
Public Hui on Sunday 11th Dec
On Sunday evening we held a public hui at Dive! Tutukaka’s Shed Seven, (a big Thank You to Kate and her team for hosting), to introduce Te Whanga Hauora O Tutukaka, Ki Uta Ki Tai Vision 2030, our vision to restore the mauri of the harbour to a vibrant and healthy state where kelp forests flourish, marine life abounds and our communities thrive. This was our chance to share the two projects that will set us on our way to achieving this vision – the kelp regeneration and research project and the Wairepo Moemoeaa wetland regeneration project at Church Bay. We had a great turnout, and the extended question time (and range of insightful questions) was a great indication of just how much enthusiasm and support there is in our community for regenerating the harbour and its catchment. The hui also gave us a chance to talk about the development of the Moana Education Centre and kelp growing lab, that is central to making sure this is a truly community-based project. We have secured a 20m container, which will become the lab and education space. Rachel Wellington and her whanau have very kindly offered us space on their whanau land in Church Bay to house the centre and we will be moving it to its permanent location as soon as we are able to get the site prepared. Our goal is to have the kelp lab up and running by the end of March 2023.
Amazing Fundraising Opportunity!
Of course, none of this can happen without funding support, which we are actively pursuing with funding applications as well as reaching out to the community. A private donor on the coast has made an amazing offer to match donations up to a total of $1,500, effectively doubling any donations made between now and the 19th of December.
Reaching that mark, will give us $3,000 to get started on the site preparation.
If you would like to support the project with a donation, please get in touch with us: firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos courtesy of Irene Middleton