Mahurangi Matters, 18 November 2020 – Readers Letters

Save the weir

Despite the objections of many locals, Auckland Council intends to destroy Warkworth’s iconic weir without public notification (see story). The reasoning is to protect the Mahurangi River’s native fish, namely whitebait. A recent study has claimed that migrating fish are blocked from swimming upstream, and that the weir impacts the natural condition of the river. Whitebait have always managed to traverse upstream over the years. Herons get a few pickings, and every spring people have their nets out, helping themselves with little concern for fish numbers. Would it be better to ban whitebaiting for at least a season or two to raise awareness? Installing a special “fish ladder” to aid migrating fish would presumably be much less expensive than the cost of demolition. There is shared concern for the river’s health – the Council could put the demolition money to better use by cleaning up the river upstream and protecting its banks. Warkworth has lost so much of its historic charm in modern times. The picturesque weir is an important part of the town’s character and we should preserve it. Originally constructed to supply water to a flour mill on the riverbank, for years the weir’s deep water was the town swimming pool. The sesquicentennial walkway runs through native bush along its banks. If the weir were removed, the deep river will likely reduce to a muddy creek, and the existing rapids would dry out, presumably making it even more difficult for native fish. Is this what we locals want to see happen? Let’s stand up together to save it.

Isabel Harris, Woodlands Estate

Ban the rodeo

I’ll certainly be boycotting the Warkworth Rodeo happening soon on New Year’s Day, and I encourage others in the community to do the same (MM Nov 4). Animals in rodeo have no choice about their participation. They suffer rough handling, serious injuries and even die as a result of rodeo. Calf roping in particular is vile and should be banned immediately. Animals forced to participate in the Warkworth Rodeo have been injured and killed over the years. It’s horrendous to me that Auckland Council and Rodney Local Board continue to lease Warkworth Showgrounds for rodeo. I signed the petition urging the Local Board to stop leasing the Showgrounds to the Warkworth Rodeo because I believe Council and the board should show they are leaders and set a good example. Council land should only be leased to groups running positive, family-friendly events that don’t involve animal abuse. Luckily, there are plenty of alternative and cruelty-free family activities available this summer around Warkworth that I’ll be supporting instead. You won’t catch me at the rodeo, unless it’s outside with the protestors.

D. Sims, Warkworth

Mahurangi Matters received three other letters, from outside the Mahurangi area, also expressing opposition to the rodeo – Ed  

Make Matariki optional

If there are people in New Zealand who wish to celebrate the rising of the Pleiades star cluster and call it Matariki (MM Sept 16) they should be able to do that. But if they expect the day to be a public holiday with all that that entails, then we need to say why? Not all iwi were able to see Matariki rise at the time of the new year. Some iwi used the star Puanga that was visible to them and which appears about the same time. Members of other races living in New Zealand, such as Indians and Chinese, celebrate their special days and anyone who wants to is welcome to join the events and celebrations. If people wish to mark Matariki and invite everyone to their events – maybe sport days, concerts or whatever – decide on a day or week or month and advertise and do it. I am sure people will join in if they want to. The media will publish it like they do for Diwali and other events. The day would not be a public holiday with all the costs that that entails but would be like Father’s Day and Mother’s Day – a set time marked on the calendar each year. All who wish to can then celebrate Matariki, and those that are not interested can just jog along and do their thing with their families and friends at no cost to the country. Everyone is happy.

Ian Ferguson, Warkworth