By Dave Moran
The team here at Dive New Zealand hope you all had a memorable time celebrating the beginning of the next millennium. It sure was great to be alive and take part in this historic event!!
I spent some time during the holiday break around Mahia exploring some of the wrecks in that region. One of the âfringeâ benefits of that coast is the abundance of crayfish. What really shocked me was the blatant wholesale plundering of crayfish by well organised groups that are making a living all year round commercially working crayfish without quota. Itâs up front and in your face. I have been told by locals that MAF are trying to keep their finger on the pulse, but find it difficult to meander through the cobwebbed maze of customary and legal concerns. I was told that in the Te Puke region one boat owner has named his boat âMAF OFFâ and even his personalised car number plates read âMAF OFF.â This is really sticking it in your face. How does MAF handle such blatant abuse? I hope to have some comments from MAF in the April/May edition.
Of course the other side issue is what are the IRD and Income Support doing to this major dose of âdouble dippingâ? God only knows! And the resources? As usual, they are taking a hammering. It will be interesting to see if the newly elected Labour Government will take a more âstiff armâ approach to maintaining a healthy sustainable marine resource, that is available and respected by all New Zealanders.
Jet Skis, you either love them or hate them. Well, at the moment they are not on my Christmas list. Some of you may have seen articles in the daily newspapers about a family, consisting of a mother and two children, rowing an inflatable and being crashed into by a jet ski off the Cavalli Islands. Lee Czerniak, the mother, is our Sales and Marketing Manager. Lee and her daughterâs injuries were of enough concern that the St Johnâs Helicopter Service was called in to airlift them to Whangarei Hospital. Not the ideal event to happen while cruising with family and friends during your summer holidays.
Leeâs accident was the second jet ski accident in as many months to injure a team member at Dive New Zealand. Sue Rafferty, our Art Director, was seriously injured late last year when she was bounced off the back of a Jet Ski. My team members are just part of a continuing number of people who have become jet ski statistics. Do jet ski owners and riders need to be licenced so that people using them have some idea of what the rules are on the water? Iâm all for any sport to be self regulating, thus avoiding Government interference, but jet skiâs, in the very short time that they have been let loose on our waterways, have reached a point in their accident statistics where their owners/riders should, like gun and car owners, be licenced.
Next issue Lee will relate her experience of how the people involved in rescue services swung into action to help her family through this avoidable accident.
There are many unsung heroes amongst the divers of this country, such as dive club members who put hours of work making their club activities successful. Many are involved in establishing marine reserves around our coastline, or putting together photographic competitions, such as the Oceans Society yearly event. This is a monumental task. Over the last few months I have had the privilege of talking to two individuals who have often wondered, as they try to overcome the seemingly impossible, âWhat the hell am I doing. This is a nightmare.â
Sinking the Tui was a major achievement by Jeroen Jongejans and the Tutukaka Coastal Promotions Committee. You would think that would be enough, but no. This group still have dreams, and successfully secured the HMNZ Waikato, which is to be scuttled off the Tutukaka coast this year.
While the Waikato has received national media attention, there has been an equally difficult battle being fought by Steve Weidmann and his team, the Taioma Reef Society, to have the Taioma tug sunk off Motiti Island. The mountains of paperwork that Steve and his team have had to process to overcome objections and obtain resource consent is Everest in proportion. Steve and his team will make no financial gain in having the tug sunk. Itâs just something that they, and many others in the Tauranga region, feel is an excellent opportunity to create an artificial reef for the enjoyment of divers . When you dive these wrecks spare a thought for those who made it happen. Without them you would not be doing the dive!
The Dive New Zealand team wish you all some excellent diving over the summer months. This is a great country for diving.