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MOUTOHORĀ  ISLAND off Opotiki

Sea Gardening

aka 'Seabed Enhancement' or Maori  'Tiaki Moana'
Large wooden Maori carving at Opotiki

​The focus theme of this voyage is giving back. In Maori tikanga it is 'utu' or the practice of reciprocity. 

This guided Voyage is given at the Wharf Hub by Opotiki Community REAF Trustees and all koha (donations $40 pp, group discounts) go to the Trust for further research, development and education.


We have become the ultimate hunters of marine life with our fancy lures, scuba, GPS and undersea fish finders, but when do we give back?

Sea Gardening gives us that opportunity. Its practice connects us back in touch with our marine world, and our higher selves.

While we readily accept that tides are result of invisible forces between the sun, moon, land and the sea,  Sea Gardening acknowledges that there are other 'mysterious invisible forces' at play in the universe that we can use. 

Expect your hooks to be baited with some choice pieces of science, philosophy, Maori lore, and new era thinking. 

Community Reef sign at Opotiki

Community Reef.

The Opotiki Community reef was begun in 2010 with the deployment of six clusters of small, complex, primarily concrete structures that could be manhandled and deployed from common 5-6 m boats. The eventual aim was for local fishermen to build say one reef each a year so that local fish stocks and diversity would grow year on year. By reversing the decline in wild fish stocks, health promoting seafood would thereby continue to flow into the community.

There are many other reasons for getting involved with reef building as well:

It offers a tangible connection with marine life

A pathway for the young to get into maritime industry

Offers fuel savings for fisher-folk

Recycling of materials that might go to landfill

Offers research dive opportunities

Offers safer boating closer to port on marginal days

plus many more benefits that you might think of.

Within an area of a square nautical mile lying 1 nautical mile offshore and inside the trawler legal limit, a consented area of poor limited ecology seabed was set aside off local Hukuwai Beach. A fine obscuring particle stays in suspension near the seabed so that divers often experience just 0.5 to 1 m of visibility closer to the seabed. Sunlight is limited. Currents are small reaching up to 5 knots at times.

Traditionally the beach inside the area was named because of the huge beach seine nets that were dragged there annually, producing a haul of fish enough to feed a hapu (Maori sub tribe) for an entire year. Such abundance has long disappeared.

The area set aside for enhancement is of a charted Mud, fine Sand (MfS) composition, very common throughout the Bay of Plenty.  A few small crabs, whelks and seabed worms might be found there in sparse density. Any small coralline growth has long  disappeared as a result largely from earlier trawling practices.

In fact such extensive areas of poor ecology, as compared to seaweed bearing rocky outcrops often frequently photographed, call out for enhancement efforts.

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