Tell us about yourself
Tony Ogilvie: I’m a father of three, plus a couple of foster children. My kids were all raised and schooled in Waiuku. I belong to a tramping club and enjoy a bit of ballroom, line and rock ‘n’ roll dancing.
I was raised in the hills of Coromandel and learnt a lot about being self-sufficient and the conservation of resources and nature. That’s probably why I chose to become a Mudlark and why I believe in what we do.
What are the Mudlarks?
We’re a volunteer community group that clears mangroves near the Waiuku Estuary. We aim to restore the area’s water quality, visual serenity and environment so Aucklanders can enjoy it for many years to come.
How long have you lived in Waiuku?
I’ve lived here for 47 years, and for much of that time, worked at the steel mill as an electrician and later as a process measurement and control technician.
What makes Waiuku such a special place?
Waiuku is special for me because I think it’s still a reasonable sized community.
If you don’t know someone, you’ll soon know someone who does. It’s also great for raising kids; they can’t get away with much around here!
What’s a typical day for you as a Mudlark?
During breakfast I’ll check emails and try to keep up-to-date with correspondence. Then I load up my 4WD with safety gear and the equipment I need, and try to be down on the mud for an 8.30am start. I’ll work and chat with the guys until morning tea, then we’re back into it until about midday.
Our work is dependent on the tides. So when there are a series of higher tides, we carry out barging of the bundled mangroves to the landing, then offload and stack them. Then they’re ready for turning into mulch, which we distribute to local gardeners and orchardists.
Do you have any funny stories about being a Mudlark?
Particularly when we are loading or moving the barge, the guys all get on together and there is often some rather rich language. More than once a lady from the shoreline has sent the message that our voices travel!
What do you enjoy doing at the weekend?
I enjoy working in the garden, orchard and workshop; having visitors over and fixing things. I go dancing fairly regularly.
What do you think would make Waiuku an even better to live?
I think managing our mangroves, and keeping estuary spaces wide open and available for lovely views, flounder-fishing, swimming, yachting, duck boat derbies and boating would be great.