Dawn karakia marks start of shell deposition at Ōkahu Bay

Barge loaded with shell
65 tonne barge filled with clean shell hash dredged from the Rangitoto Channel parked at Marsden Wharf. Photo: P Miles

A small group assembled this morning, before dawn at Marsden Wharf, Ports of Auckland.  Under COVID-19 level 3 restrictions face masks complemented high vis vests and work boots. 

Two large Heron Construction tug boats and two 65 tonne barges full of shell sat in the water below.  Kaimahi / workers and representatives from Heron, Ports of Auckland and the Revive Our Gulf project joined Kingi Maroake of Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei.  Kingi delivered a karakia that spoke about the tohu / signs in nature to mark the beginning of the next phase of kūtai / mussel regeneration work in  Ōkahu Bay.  In a mihi, Kingi acknowledged the legacy of Richelle (Kahui-McConnell) and ‘the uncles’, responsible for early kūtai work in the Bay, and pointed out that, in a non COVID-19 world, some of the kaumātua would have loved to have been there. As the sun came up over Marsden Wharf and the hustle and bustle of port activities took over, the Heron vessels were ready to make their way to Ōkahu Bay.

The Revive Our Gulf project is depositing over 1,200 cu.m of shell from Ports of Auckland maintenance dredging in a 50m x 50m area inside the breakwater piles at Ōkahu Bay.  This shell platform is being laid in preparation for kūtai beds which will be deployed in the coming months.