January 16, 2024

Over $20k raised at 2024 Tinopai fishing competition

Image: Justine Daw, Pou Tātaki of KMR, and NRC Kaipara Councillor  and KMR Joint Committee Member, John Blackwell.

Organisers of the annual Tinopai fishing competition are overwhelmed by the level of local community support in raising more than $20,000 for Tinopai School over the weekend – with contestants coming from afar as Dunedin and Australia to support the cause.

Tinopai School Board Chair Erana Fenton hopes the figure will rise when the final count is done but says regardless, the money will go a long way to helping students learn more in the outdoors.

“The majority of support of the competition has come from locals and there have been plenty of big cash donations to help out, which we are so grateful for,” says Erana.

“We even had a heap of spot prizes donated anonymously because they were so impressed with the effort that went into getting the competition off the ground again for the first time in a few years. We tried to ensure enough spot prizes were available so every contestant had a chance.”

In total, 361 people aboard 125 vessels took part in the inner and outer harbour snapper fishing contest and well over 50 children attempted to hook the biggest sprat, with Tinopai School’s Isis Henare-Toka (12) making the winner’s podium.

David Peters landed the heaviest inner harbour snapper with a specimen just over 5kg and Andre Jebbink was the outer harbour winner with a 6.65kg snapper.

Hundreds of people attended the prize giving and family-friendly festivities while Ngā Tai Whakarongorua Marae provided the preparation space for 350 delicious hangi meals.

“This has been a huge success thanks to a remarkable community effort and we can’t thank our sponsors, supporters, volunteers, school community, friends and whānau enough. We’re looking forward to gathering the community again to help organise, sponsor and support next years’ competition.

“With only a few weeks to organise this event, we want to take it to the next level in 2025, so we’ll be updating our Facebook throughout this year with images and stories of what the funds are going towards to help expand the learning of our tamariki,” says Erana.

Kaipara Moana Remediation Pou Tātaki Justine Daw says her team was thrilled to take part in the day, having sponsored the competition for the first time.

“Erana and her team did an amazing job in making it such a lovely day and our team enjoyed being part of it,” says Justine.

“It was great seeing all the children having a go at the sprat competition because the event is as much about raising money to provide tamariki with additional educational opportunities as it is to raise awareness of the need for us all to play our part in helping improve the mauri of the Kaipara Moana.

The Kaipara is environmentally and culturally important. It also has unique national importance as the ‘nursery’ for much of New Zealand’s snapper fishery.

Snapper is New Zealand’s top commercial inshore fisheries catch, creating high-value export revenues and contributing close to $70m to the economy and over 550 jobs every year.

Decades of siltation and sedimentation from the land have put the harbour and the snapper fishery at risk, which is why KMR is working hard to work with landowners and groups to protect and restore the harbour, by fencing off and planting waterways and erodible hillsides, restoring wetlands and regenerating native bush, says Justine.

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