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Letters to the Editor

Bottom Trawling in our Park

Ministry for primary Industry (MPI) is currently consulting on the indiscriminate and destructive fishing methods of bottom trawling and Danish seining in the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park.

The Seachange Stakeholder Working Group recommended seven years ago that these fishing methods be phased out in the Park, which includes both Coromandel coasts. Strangely enough, the consultation only includes options to maintain these bottom destroying methods for large areas of the Park. There is no option to get rid of it. All the proposed options would put increased pressure on the so called 'trawling corridors' by displacement of effort, especially to the Coromandel's eastern seaboard, reducing available fish to catch for both recreational fishers and commercial long liners catching higher value fish with non-destructive methods. Subsequent State of the Gulf reports by the Hauraki Gulf Forum have consistently shown ongoing degradation of the Park.

Action by Legasea: That's why Legasea has proposed Option Zero:- Remove all bottom trawling from our Hauraki Gulf Marine Park.

Have your say - Choose Option Zero: Google MPI Consultations and select Fisheries then the Proposed Trawl Zones. Under ‘Comments’, write Option Zero. Industrial methods such as trawling and purse seining, scoop up large schools of bait fish sharply, reducing available feed for larger fish and seabirds, who have to forage further and further afield to feed their young. This is leading to starvation and the biggest cause of seabird decline.

Action required from Scott Simspon: Our local MP Scott Simpson is the National Party spokesperson for Oceans and Fisheries and likely to be the next Minister in charge. He seems reluctant to commit to removing these destructive fishing methods from the Park. Come on Scott, let's hear it from you for the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park!

If you want to let Scott know your thoughts, email him at -

Dirk Sieling


Re: Guest editorial ‘To move ahead we must stop’

Gosh what an interesting choice to publish this editorial during Te Wiki o te Reo Māori, a week in which most of us are celebrating Te Reo as one of our three official languages. This celebration is important not only because Te Reo adds a unique richness to our country, but also because it was a language nearly wiped out through the ignorance and cruelty of previous white generations.

Mr Ammundsen’s ‘guest’ editorial is the latest in his series about his anxiety over Te Reo. It must be very frightening for Mr Ammundsen to watch the numbers of Māori and non-Māori wanting to learn Te Reo soar as so many in our country embrace this aspect of our distinctive cultural identity.

I know that new things can be scary. Is it the pronunciation Mr Ammundsen is worried about? There are several wonderful and patient Te Reo teachers in Whitianga that I am sure would be happy to help. The language of our nation’s first people is beautiful, don’t be afraid!

A final koha for Mr Ammundsen. His outdated and frankly reprehensible analogy of Māori as greedy children drooling over a lolly jar misses one important fact: the lolly jar originally belonged to Māori.

So here’s a more accurate analogy. Colonisers grabbed the lolly jar, took all the best lollies, smashed the jar and now still expect Māori to beg for the scraps.

Mr Ammundsen’s past ‘guest’ editorials have indicated his grave insecurities about Māori and Te Reo. I sincerely hope he comes to terms with this anxiety and attempts to learn about and from Te Ao Māori. Perhaps then he won’t be as frightened and lash out at those around him, like a child grabbing for the lolly jar.

Carolyn Wadey-Barron


Re The Guest Editorial, 12 September

An Editorial column for the writer is a marker of freedom of speech, an essential component of a democratic society.

Reader criticism and writer reply is also an essential part of this freedom of speech and expression.

My concerns are critical - critical of the present Guest Editorial writer’s lack of editorial skills and lack of content to support his views.

I read to learn (and be entertained) maybe persuaded and am frustrated by the charged weekly, recycled, tissue-thin opinions of the present Informer’s Guest Editorial writer’s default setting.

The columns are the meanderings of a singular man of a certain age, his temperament, history, education, ethnic and social background, and ideas are about equal to having a casual neighbourly talk.

Why not call the column what it is, ‘A chat over the fence’? One man’s story time, but not worthy of true editorial space.

Am curious - where are his sources of information gathered from? More than uplifted in quotation marks. as in The Informer, 12 September 2023.

The column this week included conjecture, interpretation, I'd chance misinterpretation, out of context, and a shameful attempt at metaphorising acute historical concerns in a lolly jar.

This week I visited my iwi, Rangitane o Tamki nui-a-rua’s, substantial and gracious gift they bestowed to all of Aotearoa in 2021, Pukha Wildlife Centre in the Wairarapa.

The beneficial sharing of our “sweets, chocolates and cookies” with no lid on any jar and no keeping it beyond reach on the top shelf.

Rangitane, as a mandated iwi authority’s role, is to protect and advance the collective interests of the iwi,but gave away a treasure to the nation.

If I belong to what’s being shouted about derisively as a Māori Elite, then I’m proud to be a member.

I suggest the Editorialist (sic) by comparison, where he’s coming from,

share with his readers, what his family ancestral or contemporary, has shared generously with all people in Aotearoa (or even his neighbours, will suffice).

I do wonder.

Who is the real man behind his words and today’s askew opinions?

Simply, was he denied long ago the sweets of childhood?

More complex and deeper, what are his options grounded in?

Was and is he, a perpetual coloniser without realising it?

A Google definition is “settling among and establishing control over the indigenous people of an area.”

And now intent to continue doing so nationally, with his jar of all sorts brimming and a call out to shut the lolly shop?

Has life not been fair enough or just right Jack?

Squarely, there is a need for a sit down, have a cup of tea with spoonful of honey or sugar in it and think things over before he writes again.

Nga mihi

Isabel Gilbert Palmer


Ammundsen the Just?

The continued targeting of Māori by Ammundsen in your paper (e.g., Sept and May MBI editions) is petty and in my view unwanted in our community.

To state that Te Korowai is being unjust in their management and that they will turn anyone away in need is untrue, conniving and malicious in its intent.

His mean-spirited attack is not who we are in the Whitianga area and reflects poorly on the paper.

I seriously doubt your "Guest Editor" can in any way whatsoever understand the injustices perpetrated on the Maori people.

Because of the unjust Settlements Act 1863 or Maori Affairs Act 1953 over 1.3million Hectares of land was seized due to perceived rebellion or theft by deeming the land unproductive. These unjust Pākehā laws would be akin to Ammundsen being subject to a 2023 Act of Parliament promulgating that he now could no longer reside on his land(s) or operate the business he currently owns, and that he was to move on.

Like hundreds of Maori whānau (families) before him he would ask, but where shall I go?

For Mana whenua and their whānau (families) living today, this has been and still is to some extent their lot.

His final suggestion that Maori will next want to own the air we breathe is manipulative and disingenuous, and I pray the Informers' tolerance of this unpleasant, and in my view, racist rhetoric will cease.

Yours Sincerely

Martin Smith RD2 Whitianga

The charm of isolation

Having read recent letters, I am stunned how many people believe tourism is the mainstay of Whitianga and how they want tourists 24/7, 52/12. Well, I say No thank you, I like how ‘loopy’ season was confined to the summer months. The main industry is fishing and farming, so I encourage more of it. Do people even know that fish farming has been in the bay before?

Why should people that move to town then get upset and try to change life here? Part of the charm is the isolation, the winding roads and the floods that block us off for a few hours, we don’t want big city kaos!

Rob Davis

Whiti City


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