Advocate 24/1

Some years ago I took on the task of writing the Advocate’s blogs. For any organisation, communication with members, potential members and interested parties is a key factor in the success of the group. As writer I was given free reign to write on the matters I saw as interesting- the length of, and frequency of, blogs and of course photos. With time I felt it harder to find new topics with the frequency I set for myself. I marvel at the professional newspapers’ opinion writers with their ability to come up with a differing menu of topics. 

From our Committee meeting on 29th January I resigned as blog writer and am thankful that Sam Coxhead has volunteered to continue the blogs. I wish him well – writing blogs has its rewards in a personal way.

I hope to remain on the Committee as I enjoy the interaction with Committee members. This is a voluntary organisation that aims to improve the experience of the Tongariro River Catchment. I see my involvement as valuable in that I am a long time local of Turangi and know the community reasonably well.

Prior to the formation of the Advocates I was urged by Allan Cooper to become a Committee member of TALTAC and my wife became Secretary of TALTAC. They were the days with the Tongariro Power Development and there were issues such as increased siltation in the flow of the river that we brought to the attention of Bert Dekker, who was then in charge of the Tongariro Power Scheme. There was no Department of Conservation. The fishery was managed by the Central North Island Wildlife Conservancy Council, Budge Hintz was Chairperson, Pat Burstall was Wildlife Conservator. 

1987 saw the formation of the Department of Conservation and with it Fish and Game took the place of the Acclimatisation Societies for the management of sports fishing and hunting. John Gibbs was appointed to manage  fishing and hunting for DoC. The advisory body for anglers was the establishment of the Taupo Fishing Advisory Committee, TFAC. Bob Appleton was our initial representative on that body.

All organisations are evolving through political action or personnel changes. A problem is keeping up with the changes and change in institutional knowledge. Agreements of yesterday are not known by the new personnel and those agreements are forgotten. It is important to maintain worthy institutional knowledge of the past.

It is also important to see improvement that can be made into the future. Pushing such arguments can win kudos or criticism. I think of the Lake Level and our involvement in the consent process, Fish Farming, The Mangamawhitiwhiti land development, Didymo awareness, Wilding Pines action, Volcanic eruption and ash to be removed by nature, declining trout size and quality, The Tongariro River Trail, the Carp farm application and Angling etiquette were some important issues. It was pleasing to report in blogs on all of these matters. There was plenty to write about.

At this time it is quiet. Action moved to Lake Otamangakau and Lake Rotoaira where good fish were being caught while Lake Taupo at the southern end was pretty quiet. It makes me wonder about the future of the fishery with global warming. A description of the change is sometimes called the Glasshouse effect in which the summers are hotter and the winters colder. Despite the world temperature having risen 1.5  degrees above last century we certainly had good snowfall on the mountains. What would happen if the snowfall disappeared? What would happen if there was a significant increase in river and lake temperature?

I pay tribute to our Presidents – Mark Cosgrove, Heather Macdonald, Stuart Cosbie, Neville Young and Gary Brown.Committee members have all contributed to make a strong Committee. Ably led they have been a forceful committee. Meetings are not a tight business style meeting but the agenda is full and decisions are made in a 2 hour session. Those from other parts of the country welcome committee meetings as a means to come to Turangi more than once a year. Younger committee members are desireable to continue the work of the Advocates. Those who are keen anglers, recently retired with a desire to contribute for the benefit of future generations would find the friendships and experience made, rewarding.

I  try to attend meetings of Lakes and Waterways Action Group at least once a year. They generally have a guest speaker at each meeting. The  topics are always of interest. Their meetings are held monthly and at each they have a guest speaker. Last Thursday I attended. Jackie Eagan Environment planner for NZ Foest Manager spoke about the impact of Cyclone Gabrielle on the forests they manage. There was much fascinating information shared at the meeting. NZFM were aware of the fallen trees in the river upstream and have set up a committee to deal with this issue. Environment Waikato and the Rafting Company are involved. The impact for the owners is substantial. Harvesting of fallen timber has resulted in 3 times the volume normally harvested while income per log is reducing daily and future harvests will be affected for some time. Douglas Fir is no longer being planted. New planting styles are being considered. Wilding Pines are an issue they consider. I came away impressed with the way the company was dealing with a very difficult situation.

Last night we released the Annual Report. We would be pleased if you were to share with friends.

Finally. A fluke. One evening I caught a large hen. The hen had been hooked previously and the hook was in the mouth of the trout. The fluke was that my hook was through the eye already in the fish.

Eric Wilson


Good luck Sam.