This past summer EMR has been very lucky to have a large team of volunteers around Aotearoa to help us run our community events and school programmes. In the Auckland region alone we had 110 active volunteers who donated 1847 hours of their time.
At each event in the Auckland region we have asked a volunteer to write a trip report of the event. This has meant that we have a fantastic record of all our events - from the perspective of the volunteers.
A short snippet from Ngaio Balfour's trip report on the Motu Manawa Kayak Days.
The kayak event was a spectacular meandering paddle through the mangroves of Motu Manawa marine reserve.
The EMR crew, Sophie and Lorna, welcomed me back as a volunteer; thank you level one! Soon the Auckland Sea Kayaks crew arrived, and we settled into preparing for the day. We greeted the participants with karakia and kayak team ran through a safety and paddle skills briefing. The late morning sun found us; we were ready. I was thrilled when Sophie and Lorna offered me the chance to paddle as support.
Working as a team, we launched and kayaked out into the blue of the bay, heading for the bridge by the motorway. As we came into the calm of the mangrove estuary, we rafted up, and Sophie shared her knowledge of the reserve ecosystem.
The Motu Manawa marine reserve, established in 1995 protects approximately 500 hectares on the inner Waitematā harbour. The reserve holds a diversity of habitats, including intertidal mudflats, tidal channels, mangrove (manawa) swamp, saltmarsh and shell banks. The vast spread of the muddy benthic (bottom) houses critters. These creatures provide the food for wading birds, who’s tidal commute from land to sea cycles vital nutrients. Then there is the mātātā (fern bird) who nests in the scrub of Pollen Island, a stretch of land lying to our left and the only remaining mainland habitat in which the fern bird persisted. Land clearance and predation has exiled the bird from the expanse of mainland coastline which it would have called home…. And I mustn’t forget the manawa! Often overlooked, these brilliant trees are the nurseries for our native fish, the resting place of birds, the filterers of water and air and the protectors of our foreshore from coastal erosion.
All our trip reports can be found here: https://www.emr.org.nz/events/trip-reports
If volunteering sounds like fun - we would love to have you on board. The criteria varies for volunteers for each region - but check out our volunteering hub for more information.