Today, the Ngāti Paoa Iwi Trust announces that the exotic seaweed, Caulerpa, has been found and identified at a location near Thompson’s Point on Waiheke Island.
In 2021 Caulerpa was discovered in Aotea (Great Barrier Island) and Ahuahu (Great Mercury Island), then this year at Te Rāwhiti Inlet in the Bay of Islands, Te Kawau Island, and now Waiheke Island.
This comes as devastating news as this invasive seaweed can spread rapidly.
On 18 May a joint letter from Ngāti Pāoa and Ngāti Rehua Ngātiwai was sent to the Minister of Biosecurity requiring ‘Urgent action and budget required to eliminate Caulerpa’. New thinking and action is required that draws on mātauranga, marine science, and the application of large-scale marine technologies.
The Ngāti Pāoa Iwi Trust Chair, Herearoha Skipper, reminds us that a rāhui (a temporary customary closure for identified species in the degraded waters of Tīkapa) was put in places over 2 years ago following the identification of the significant decline in four native species – the Kōura (Crayfish), Tipa (Scallop), Kūtai (Mussel) and Pāua (Abalone). As a result of the work completed to date Ngāti Pāoa has entered into a MBIE Endeavour research project alongside our whanaunga ,Ngāti Rehua Ngātiwai, Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki, Ngāti Tamaterā, and Ngāti Hei.
The threat of this new discovery of the invasive Caulerpa seaweed is not only significant to the local ecosystem but to that of the wider Hauraki Gulf and Aoteroa/New Zealand and so must be prioritised.
Ngāti Pāoa have also been working alongside the Waiheke Marine Project over the past several years, and believe it is important to acknowledge that work which has enabled consistent monitoring of the local waters and the early identification of the presence of the Caulerpa seaweed.
Ngāti Pāoa is currently working closely with the Waiheke Marine Project, the Waiheke Local Community Board, Auckland Council and Biosecurity New Zealand to work through the options. We are also working alongside our Hauraki whanaunga in carrying out continued monitoring of the spread and/or eradication or elimination of the caulerpa. We also acknowledge the incredible leadership of Ngāti Manuhiri and look forward to attending their upcoming workshops to combat Caulerpa.
Follow the button below to the Biosecurity website that provides further information on the exotic Caulerpa: