A family fun day to celebrate Kapiti Marine Reserve's 25th anniversary was very successful.
"It was great to see so many members of our community coming together to enjoy the fabulous facilities at the Kapiti Boating Club and to celebrate the role our local community played in the establishment of our marine reserve back in 1992," event organiser and Guardians of Kapiti Marine Reserve member Martin Halliday said.
"Activities and entertainment on the day [Saturday May 5] included marine themed displays, a citizen science demonstration, displays of artwork from a logo design competition, live music by local band Brasso and activities for the kids."
There were speeches and an official cake cutting to mark the occasion.
Kapiti councillor Angela Buswell, Department of Conservation ranger Colin Giddy and Guardians committee members Karl Webber and Ben Knight shared the cake cutting honours.
"The cake cutting symbolises a new era of collaboration between the community and local and central government regarding the management of the Kapiti Marine Reserve," Mr Knight said.
"The cake, a double decker, triple chocolate masterpiece complete with seascape decorations, was kindly donated by Kiss and Bake Up and was enjoyed by all."
Mr Giddy praised those who played key roles in establishing the marine reserve.
"A huge amount a work went in behind the scenes to get the reserve across the line.
"I'd like to acknowledge the late Peter Daniel, who was an ex-Kapiti Island ranger, and previous DOC area manager Ian Cooksley. Our iwi partners also deserve special recognition because without them the reserve would not be here today."
Don Te Maipi, from Te Atiawa Ki Whakarongotai marae gave a karakia and led singing of a waiata before the cake cutting.
Perry Hakaraia, leader of the waka ama crew from Otaki, also spoke about the kaitiaki role his group are planning to play around Kapiti.
"It's awesome to have these guys on board and we are honoured to be able to acknowledge and celebrate the role that our local iwi continue to play in the management of the reserve," Mr Knight said.
"The reserve has been a huge success for our local community, including iwi and the boating, fishing and diving clubs across the district who all have an interest in protecting it so that future generations can also enjoy an abundant local marine environment.
"Studies show the sea-life in the marine reserve is rebounding.
"According to recent surveys, there are now 10 to 20 times more legal size blue cod inside the reserve than outside, and twice as many legal sized crayfish.
"Butterfish numbers in the reserve have increased by over 400 percent and these fish are also much larger meaning the total biomass of butterfish in the reserve has increased by more than 2000 per cent since the reserve was established.
"As these fish mature, they produce large quantities of eggs and larvae which is helping to repopulate the depleted areas outside of the reserve.
"The fish life inside the reserve also tends to move out of the protected areas over time leading to a spillover effect with an increase in legal sized fish outside of the reserve documented for the first time in a recent study."
The celebrations were attended by the Ministry of Primary Industries fisheries compliance team and local DOC rangers.
Their boats were a popular part of the display and staff were kept busy talking to visitors about the marine reserve and the fishing rules and regulations that apply within the wider Kapiti marine area.
"I'm looking forward to an increased compliance presence on the water from both DOC and MPI over the coming months," Mr Knight said.
"Monitoring and compliance are essential components of the good management of our marine reserve and the surrounding marine area and we are keen to do whatever we can as a community group to support them in this important role."
For more info and to get involved in the Guardians activities email firstname.lastname@example.org or join the Facebook group at www.facebook.com/groups/GOKMR/