By Te Anau Conservation Services Ranger, Chloe Corne
Unique, individually carved poupou marine reserve markers were installed across Fiordland and unveiled in a special ceremony. Read on to discover how it was done…
For the Fiordland Marine Guardians, the unveiling of newly erected poupou marine reserve markers in Charles Sound/Taiporoporo represented an important milestone and was the rewarding culmination of several years’ collaborative planning.
In his address during the unveiling ceremony, Guardians Chairperson Malcolm Lawson, acknowledged the significant effort put forward by the collaboration of the Fiordland Marine Guardians, DOC and local iwi from the Ōraka-Aparima Rūnaka (the mandated Iwi Kaitiaki) on behalf of the wider Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu.
While marine reserves are traditionally marked with white triangles, the poupou project derived from a mutual desire to put in place marine reserve markers more in keeping with the natural and cultural heritage of the fiords.
For Ngāi Tahu, the poupou symbolise enduring kaitiakitanga (guardianship) of Te Moana o Atawhenua (Fiordland).
The project—led by Stewart Bull, the Ngāi Tahu representative on the Guardians, and project managed by DOC Senior Ranger Richard Kinsey—commissioned Bubba Thompson, a skilled local carver from the Awarua Rūnanga, to design and carve the poupou.
Each has the same basic shape, but with varying design differences in the face and body.
Designed to be both attractive and functional, they will be named after various ancestors from Kai Tahu Whānui history.
Production and installation of the poupou was jointed funded by Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu and DOC.
So far, ten poupou have been installed, in sometimes challenging wind and sea conditions.
DOC and the Fiordland Marine Guardians are yet to decide if the markers for the older reserves in Milford and Doubtful Sounds will be changed.
With the new poupou now in place, marking not only the marine reserves but an important part of New Zealand’s cultural heritage, all of the DOC staff involved are celebrating it as a significant achievement and are looking forward to installing the last few poupou in the remaining reserves.