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Q&A on the Manukau Harbour Forum

Published: 26 July 2018

Saffron Toms, Deputy Chair of the Waitākere Ranges Local Board and Chair of the Manukau Harbour Forum, talks about the forum and what it does.

What is the Manukau Harbour Forum?

The forum is a group of representatives from Auckland’s nine local boards that border the Manukau Harbour. It was created in 2010 in response to concerns about the harbour’s deteriorating state and the urgent need for a collaborative response to improve its condition.

Who is on the Manukau Harbour Forum?

This term there is a good mix of experienced Manukau Harbour Forum members as well as new local board members who bring enthusiasm and new ideas. We are:

  • Saffron Toms – Deputy Chair, Waitākere Ranges Local Board
  • David Holm – Deputy Chair, Puketāpapa Local Board
  • Joseph Allan, Manurewa Local Board
  • Alan Cole, Franklin Local Board
  • Chris Makoare, Chair, Maungakiekie-Tāmaki Local Board
  • Carrol Elliott, JP, Māngere-Ōtāhuhu Local Board
  • Bill McEntee, Papakura Local Board
  • Tracy Mulholland, Chair, Whau Local Board 
  • Dawn Trenberth, Ōtara-Papatoetoe Local Board

What has the forum has been able to achieve so far?

Our most important achievement to date is the securing of funds to develop a hydrodynamic model. This will be the first time a whole-harbour hydrodynamic model has been created and is the direct result of the combined advocacy of the nine local boards.

What is the hydrodynamic model and how will it be used?

The hydrodynamic model is an essential tool for understanding the health and wellbeing of the harbour. It will give us insight into the harbour’s water quality, sediment condition and transportation patterns.

It will also form a foundation which will enhance our knowledge of the state of our kai moana / fisheries information, biodiversity and biosecurity.

What other work has the forum been doing?

The forum has sponsored an industry-led flagship programme to recognise good environmental practice. The programme supports businesses with good practices to share their ideas with others in the business community and has been received with great enthusiasm.

We’ve also funded two Manukau Harbour Symposiums, one in 2016 and one in 2017, each with great attendance and energy. These enabled us to begin to bring together iwi, community groups, scientists and environmental organisations who shared their knowledge and experiences with the wider Manukau Harbour community.

We also held our first Young Leaders for Sustainability programme based and focused on the Manukau Harbour. This was the first time young people from across the region have been brought together with the express purpose of increasing knowledge and awareness of our taonga harbour – its beauty and wilderness, its challenges and opportunity.

We hope that some of these young leaders will continue to be champions for the harbour into the future.

How can I do my bit to help the Manukau Harbour?

Everyone can do their bit to help look after our treasured harbour – from simple things like making sure all rubbish is picked up or taken home with you, cleaning up after your dog, checking the state of your septic system or just using less plastic!

For businesses and building sites that surround the harbour, it’s about being responsible and making sure all sediment and waste is contained properly on-site and doesn’t end up adversely affecting the harbour and its environment. If you see someone else who isn’t being responsible you can call them in.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Recognising that we still have a lot to achieve is part of our role. Please continue to walk with us as we work to improve our much-treasured Manukau Harbour.

How can people get in touch?

To get in touch, email

For more information or to sign up to receive the forum newsletter, visit the forum webpage.


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