By Andrea Macfarlane
We at Dive Zone were delighted to host the New Zealand Underwater Association (NZUA) for their AGM at our premises last weekend. This event brought over 40 people into town on a very wet and wild weekend. They gathered for social drinks and food at the Game Fish club on the Friday night, held their meeting with us on the Saturday morning and then we hosted canapes (catered by Espy) and drinks with guest speakers with us on the Saturday night. There were some really knowledgeable industry stalwarts that attended – some genuine pioneers in the dive industry.
Dive Zone Whitianga was host over the first weekend of the school holidays, 1 and 2 July, to the New Zealand Underwater Associations 70th AGM. We at Dive Zone were delighted to host the NZ Underwater Association for their AGM at our premises last weekend,” says Linda Bird, Administrator of Dive Zone, Whitianga. “This event brought over 40 people into town on a very wet and wild weekend. They gathered for social drinks and food at the Game Fishing club on the Friday night, held their meeting with us on the Saturday morning and then we hosted canapes (catered by Espy Cafe) and drinks with guest speakers with us on the Saturday night.”
Linda reported that there were some really knowledgeable industry stalwarts that attended – some genuine pioneers in the dive industry.
The Association was established in 1953 is New Zealand’s recognised not for profit organisation promoting and advocating safe underwater activities in a healthy marine environment. The event commenced with an emotional karakia from Joe Davis from Ngatei Hei and well attended by many stakeholders, including National Dive and Spearfishing clubs, Legasea, NZ Sport Fishing Council, NZ Heritage Group Chair, Rosemary Tarlton, along with Keith Gordon and Dave Moran.
Amongst the many topics of conversation was the success of the scallop Rahui at Opito bay and the significance to the area of this key milestone with its many contributors including host Dive Zone Whitianga providing divers.
The keynote speaker was Craig Thorburn who is an aquarium design and development consultant and trustee of the Kelly Tarlton Wildlife Trust. He spoke of his involvement in the steering committee of the Waiheke Marine Project, a joint effort with the trust on seaweed and koura surveys analysis and coordination.
Leo Ducker is the founder of the New Zealand Underwater Association and recognised as “The Father of Diving” in New Zealand. He was instrumental in encouraging others to enter the water and was legendary for his efforts at constructing his own diving equipment and conducting experiments in underwater swimming in the forties. Leo was first to dive the now famous Poor Knights Islands, Goat Island and much of the coast. Leo inspired NZUA’s first President, Clive Mudgeway, to take up diving.
Award for Mike Bhana’s ‘The Price of Fish’
The Association’s Leo Ducker award was presented to Mike Bhana of Tairua, whom NZUA acknowledged for his 32-year film career inspiring a global movement towards a more responsible and compassionate approach to fisheries management. For example, the recent efforts to pressure the Minister to introduce Pink Maomao and other reef species into the amateur daily bags limits. We really saw Mike’s passion and desire for change come to the fore with the production of the documentary, ‘The Price of Fish’ which highlights the issues with New Zealand's failing Quota Management System. This remarkable film goes on to outline an alternative, progressive policy known as Rescue Fish. Rescue Fish represents a complete paradigm shift in how we approach the delicate balance between selective fishing, the conservation of marine biodiversity, and how we balance both of those with social and economic impacts. ‘The Price of Fish’ is a testament to Mike's ability to weave together the power of storytelling and the urgency of environmental stewardship.
Caption: Forty members of the NZ Underwater Association attended their 70th Annual General Meeting at Dive Zone Whitianga last weekend.