Divers Need Representing, Wyland, Riwaka Resurgence
By Dave Moran
What do you think? Have your say here at the bottom.
New Zealand Underwater Association
During June I attended the New Zealand Underwater Association's (NZUA) AGM in Nelson. Over the last two years, under the guidance of president Eric Simmons, the organization had a major overhaul of its running costs and the organization's objectives. It was made clear that the NZUA's main objective is to maintain divers' rights and to ensure government policies do not dilute those rights. During the year:
- Submissions were made regarding the Foreshore and Seabed Act, and Blue Cod Fisheries in the Marlborough Sounds.
- Discussions with the Department of Conservation (DoC) regarding shark finning.
- Pressure on the government to fulfill its election promise to increase Marine Protected Areas (MPAs)
- Discussions with the Navy regarding retaining the recompression chamber for treating civilian divers. Current indications are that the chamber will remain at the Auckland Navy base where the overall Navy hospital's capabilities and facilities have been cut. The long term planning is that the chamber will eventually be installed in one of Auckland's major hospitals but this will not happen in the foreseeable future.
- Diver access to the Riwaka Resurgence is currently being discussed with DoC and local Iwi (Maori tribe) re access for divers. (view Issue J/J #124 editorial)
These are just a small sample of what the NZUA is involved in for the benefit of all divers in New Zealand. As Eric Simmons in his president's report commented: 'I'm a firm believer that divers need representing whether they know it or not, otherwise we will lose our ability to dive where and when we like.' Visit: www.nzu.org.nz to further understand what this national organization is doing for you.
While I was in Nelson I had the opportunity to dive the Riwaka Resurgence thank to Eric Simmons who runs Dive Central. I was very keen to experience the dive due to the current discussions mentioned. The dive to reach the first sump is very simple and safe as long as basic cave diving principles are adhered to. We had so much fun in the first sump, we even celebrated Shane Wasik's (the newly elected NZUA president) birthday with cake and candles provided by his partner Nikki. I can still hear 'Happy birthday Shane' ringing in my ears.
This year's recipient of the Wyland Foundation and Dive New Zealand magazine Recognition Award went to pioneering diver Ross McDonald who was the first to dive the Resurgence in the late 1950s. Divers from all over the world have enjoyed the wonderful experience of diving it ever since.
It is utterly inconceivable that diver access be prevented after all these years just because some people 'think' the local Iwi washed their feet there many years ago!
In general, divers respect different cultures due to their travels all over the world and I'm sure they will continue to respect the Resurgence and its beautiful setting within Mother Nature. The NZUA is hoping common sense prevails and that divers from around the world can experience this special place. We will keep you informed in future issues.
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Would you believe winter in New Zealand is coming to an end! Now is the time to think about up-grading your gear or having it serviced. Check out the latest issue for a detailed view of regulators and their features.
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