September 29, 2015
Ngati Kuri pou on new Kermadec sanctuary
Northernmost iwi Ngati Kuri is welcoming the creation of a giant marine sanctuary around the Kermadec islands.
Prime Minister John Key told the United Nations General Assembly in New York yesterday the Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary northeast of New Zealand would cover 620,000 square kilometres or about 15 percent of the country's exclusive economic zone.
Ngati Kuri chair Harry Burkhardt says the iwi is linked to the islands because it's where the Kurahaupo waka was beached for repairs on its passage to Aotearoa.
The iwi has placed a pou on the islands, and its kaitiaki status was acknowledged by the global Pew environmental organisation during the seven-year process to win government support for the sanctuary.
It's one of the most pristine marine environments left in the world as well as being one of the most geologically diverse, with the world’s longest chain of submerged volcanoes and the second deepest ocean trench.
"We are hearing great stories around DOC taking counts of whales going past that island and that island seems to be an intersection for whale migration and the numbers are growing exponentially, so it seems to be like a heartbeat for the globe. If that's healthy, the rest of us are healthy," Mr Burkhardt says.
He says the isolation of the Kermadecs is its strength.
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