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AGM Report

Maui’s & Hector’s Dolphins Education/Action Inc

Chair’s report

18 August 2014

This report reflects on the Society’s achievements since its establishment in 2012.

It’s been a busy time and one that’s required a lot of personal and financial resources from our committee. Fortunately we started off with a healthy balance from the grant of over $5,600 raised by Waimauku School at their Maui’s market after we had apparently inspired them with our presentation!

That enabled us to become an Incorporated Society, and to commission our first range of 50 t-shirts, Dolphin Defender stickers and educational fliers.

Those resources have subsequently been supplemented by others and have been used to great purpose at a huge number of events, taking the Maui’s & Hector’s message to thousands of New Zealanders and achieving what seems to be a critical mass level of public awareness.

Events where we have run market stalls and ‘painted dolphin’ free art programmes include: the two Waitakere Eco Festivals, Piha ‘Love your Oceans’ day, two Raglan Maui’s dolphin days, the Sea Week festival, Muriwai Waitangi Day festival and Titirangi Market. We ran a painted dolphin school holiday class in Kumeu and Mt Albert. We supported and were supported by Sea Shepherd selling merchandise at two boat shows, SS events. We did graffiti dolphins on transformer boxes at Muriwai and Kumeu, and made stencils available for people in other areas. We decorated local facilities with dolphins (with permission).

We organised public rallies that were creative, positive, got good media coverage, in Wellington (twice), Auckland, and Tauranga. These presented huge petitions (about 85,000 with Avaaz and Nabu) to the select committee, or open letters to Ministers, and really put the dolphins on the agenda. We spoke for the dolphins at the ‘Kiwi’s connect’ march, and issued many media releases and gave radio interviews on the subject of the dolphins. We had a ‘flash mob’ to raise awareness and handed out fliers on the street. We lined a local road with signs and stood on a street corner waving signs when we knew John Key was in town.

We produced targeted resources to enable people to easily submit on the Government’s Maui’s dolphin protections review and distributed them across the country.

We spoke to school and community groups, including Waimauku School, Western Underwater Dive Club and Whangaparaoa School, political and community groups. We made a presentation to the Integrated Kaipara Harbour Monitoring Group, and to the Auckland Labour Environment Speed Dating event. We organised this year’s Oceans Forum.

We made submissions to the Local Government and Environment Parliamentary Select Committee following on from our petitions, to the Animal Welfare Act review, the Council’s Public Safety & Nuisance by-laws (leading to policies allowing for the gazetting of set net free areas). We spoke to Local Board submissions across the Auckland region. We submitted on Council Annual Plans and the Unitary Plan (including further submissions seeking the marine protections proposed in the draft be upheld), DoC’s Conservation Management Strategy Reviews, the TTR sandmining application, Government consultation on the review of Maui’s dolphin protection. We worked on a letter to the Government signed by many different groups.

We met with MPs of all different parties (of those who agreed to meet – ie not National). We enjoyed a constructive dialogue with Andrew Williams from NZ First & Ruth Dyson of Labour. The Greens have also been supportive especially with important questions to the Government in the House. We feel these relationships have been very constructive especially in the formulation of pre-election policy.

We developed and adopted our logo. We developed and launched our fb page which in just this year alone has attracted over 1000 likes with a great range of active supporters. We generally limit our group to New Zealanders as there are lots of other groups working internationally and we seek to enable Kiwis working in this country for the dolphins. We also developed our website. Thanks to Jenny and Linda for their work on these. Thanks also to Jenny and Gemma McGrath for developing and refining our fliers. We applied for Charitable status but were declined because of our advocacy role. We are being reconsidered now that the decision has been released in the Greenpeace Court of Appeal ruling.

We expanded our range of merchandise, including a new range of t-shirts which are hugely popular, as well as soft dolphins direct from the supplier, lapel pins and stickers.

We worked with scientists, other NGOs, and DoC on campaigns, educational initiatives and events. We network with other individuals and NGOs around the country including Sea Shepherd supporters in the South Island, EarthRace (here and in the SI) and the Curio Bay Store. We’ve also been giving campaign advice to FishFight, a fishing group aiming to get trawlers out of inshore waters. We’ve participated in various official and Non-governmental processes

Thanks very much to all our committee members for their support. Many founding members are standing down, but we’re especially grateful to the core Maui’s (& Hector’s) Angels, Linda, Kerry, Tracy (resigned), and Jenny (who is now living overseas but does all our graphic work for us).

The New Zealand dolphins, Maui’s and Hector’s dolphins are now in the public consciousness like never before. In the coming election and coming year we will need to develop a more sustainable resource model to support the interest there is in the issue in wider NZ, but also to continue to raise awareness and protection for both Maui’s and Hector’s.

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