Whether you’re dipping your toes into a wave lapping one of our beaches or slowly moving an oar through the water in a secluded bay, our beautiful part of the world would be nothing without our precious marine life and the environment that sustains and nurtures it.
Tasman Bay Guardians is made up of a group of passionate locals and is one of the only organisations in Nelson Tasman with a focus on looking after the health of our precious aquatic environments. “We want to work with the community to increase marine protected areas so that anyone can go snorkelling in the reserves and see dolphins, crayfish, blue cod and snapper who have no fear of being caught or damaged by humans,” says founder and trust director Stew Robertson. “It’s our dream to see the coasts once again covered in seaweed meadows and teeming with life.”
Tasman Bay Guardians is already achieving great things by engaging the community and other groups in project-based initiatives such as beach and dive clean-ups, tree plantings, reef projects, and marine gardening, and by encouraging public engagement through meetings, public forums, and marine and freshwater education programmes.
“Our work helps people to engage in kaitiakitanga (guardianship) of the marine environment and opens the eyes of young people to what needs to be done to help improve and maintain the health of our waters,” says Stew. “We have been inspired by groups such as Sustainable Coastlines, who have had a huge influence on peoples’ perceptions of the marine environment. We hope we are doing this locally, and have been recognised by DOC and the councils as valuable additions to the conservation effort in the top of the South.”
Tasman Bay Guardians has recently attrained Charitable Trust Status which will help them to gain funding to manage their activities, including creating an artificial reef on the Abel Tasman coast.
Long-term, the aim is to train up rangitahi (youth) to be conservationists, educators, and leaders; creating jobs and increasing awareness in the wider community of solution-based management of our marine ecosystems. “We want to help everyone care for the water,” says Stew.