Kia ora koutou katoa,
Welcome to our brand new Tasman Bay Guardians website. We are very excited to be able to showcase our work to the world, and we hope you enjoy what we do. It’s taken us about a year and half from the Guardians inception to get to this point, and it is a massive step to have a fully fledged website up and running and we are very excited about the future.
Why did we start this organization? As owners of Abel Tasman EcoTours, showing clients nature is our business. While doing this, we not only show them the wonders but also the threats to the environment, and the local situation.
It felt as if there was a lot of talking but not a whole lot of doing when it came to looking after the marine environment. The Top of the South is often lauded as the volunteer capital of New Zealand. And it is amazing how the community rallies on planting days, working bees and trap lines, we wanted to create something like this for the sea.
Some of the threats to the marine environment are sedimentation from land, biodiversity loss (historical and present) from destructive practices, threats to our marine mammals, plastics, climate change etc. Our strategy defines these threats and identifies stakeholders and potential solution pathways.
We are interested in working with all the stakeholders, to find practical solutions that will maintain healthy ecosystems and abundance for all.
There is a small group of us local marine geeks involved in the Experiencing Marine Reserves programme, we buzz off engaging kids with marine environment, and experiencing their passion through their action projects.
The EMR programme needed a new provider organization and we realized that to make it happen, we had to do it ourselves. So we enlisted a few more of the team and started training ourselves in EMR’s sister freshwater programme, Whitebait Connection.
The Mountains to Sea Trust, who lead these programmes have endorsed our relationship and in April 2018, we hosted the annual Wananga here in Motueka at Te Awhina Marae.
Delegates were treated to an amazing experience in our region, although with some heartbreaking moments around the devastation wrought by the cyclones and also the threats to Te Waikoropupu springs and the manawhenua’s fight to save that sacred place.
In November 2017, we hosted a marine education forum for the local guides and other interested folk, outlying the issues we face in the marine space. At that meeting we realized that we needed to form a group, and Tasman Bay Guardians was born. It’s been a full on year, and a lot of work, but we’re getting there.
The Whitebait Connection programme has sprung into life, we are looking forward to some great community snorkel days coming up this summer. I have been working with the Sustainable Seas Science Challenge and Nelson Biodiversity Forum, looking at the bigger picture and how our work can fit into these.
We have organized our first Abel Tasman Tree Collective planting and started restoration on the DOC community nursery in Motueka. There are plenty more projects in the wings. We hope you will join us on this exciting journey.
If you feel like you want to help, with time, skills or resources, please don’t hesitate to get in touch and see what we’re about. We would love to hear from you.
Many thanks go out to all of our sponsors and volunteers who help us make all of this possible. We hope you see the value in our work, and we will help to tell the world of your generosity.
Thanks to all the kids who have been through our programmes and to their parents and teachers for collaborating with us. And finally thanks from me to all of the Guardians team and Trustees, you guys have been amazing, helping us to get this off the ground.
Nga mihi nui
Stew Robertson – Trust Director