Otaraua Hapu and Waitara Alive conducted a study investigating the presence of kaimoana along the Waitara coastline. Working with marine scientists, members of the community learned how to identify different marine species and what these species mean for the health of our reefs.

The project draws on the work of previous Otaraua leaders who undertook an initial survey of Kaimoana stocks in 2001. The 2016 survey used the same methodology and endeavoured through the use of GPS to survey the exact same (or very near to it) locations.

The project captured a photo record of the life and structure of the reef, making use of the online database NatureWatch NZ. This provides a means of visually seeing how the reef evolves over time.

Oral histories of the reefs from kaumātua and community elders were also captured on video. These along with the results from the kaimoana survey were shared with the community in a pop-up shop in Waitara at the end of October 2016.

The results, displayed in the pop-up shop showed that paua was more abundant in the 2016 survey than in 2001, however most paua found were smaller than the legal size. Both mussels and pupu were less abundant in 2016 compared to 2001.

One powerful element of this project was the way it compared scientific result to community observation.
The project team are aiming to repeat this survey in early 2018, so watch this space.