Official blessing for new vessel
Environment Southland is excited to announce the arrival of their new harbourmaster vessel, “Kewa”. The vessel was officially blessed this morning by Te Ao Marama Inc Kaupapa Taiao manager Dean Whaanga.
Inders Marineland in Gore won the contract to supply the new vessel, which was built by Marco Boats in Morrinsville and then delivered south to have its fit out completed.
The Marco Sou’wester 760 will significantly increase the ability of the harbourmasters to carry out their work around the coastal and maritime areas of Southland.
The vessel has been funded from the marine fees, which are collected from cruise ships visiting region, and it will have its first official outing on Lake Te Anau over Labour Weekend, as part of the ‘No Excuses’ campaign in partnership with Maritime New Zealand.
The vessel will predominantly work in Bluff, Foveaux Strait and Stewart Island. Bluff is a busy commercial port and the area is also home to many recreational water activities, including rowing, sailing and recreational fishing. Environment Southland operates and maintains a Safety Management System for Bluff Harbour and the Kewa will assist in fulfilling the important obligations associated with this.
The capacity of the new vessel will also allow the harbourmasters to address areas of navigation safety within the Foveaux Strait and Stewart Island areas, which have not always been accessible with the current vessels.
“Our current vessels are smaller and not equipped to negotiate un-forecasted adverse weather conditions, so Kewa has been designed and equipped with this in mind,” harbourmaster Lyndon Cleaver says.
The new vessel will be involved in a range of work, including patrolling, public events, boating education, assisting with consent monitoring, assisting with access to hydrology monitoring stations on lakes, safety search and rescue, and oil spill response.
The names of the existing Council vessels, Hoiho and Toroa are both Māori names of native sea birds but do not particularly identify each vessel with the areas or work that they are used in.
After much research and consultation with Te Ao Marama Inc and local Runanga, the name Kewa,was proposed as a suitable name for the new vessel.
This is the local Māori mythology or story behind the name ‘Kewa’:
Kiwa’s pathway and Kewa’s lost tooth
Local Māori knew Foveaux Strait as Te Ara a Kiwa (the pathway of Kiwa). Kiwa was an ancestor who tired of crossing the isthmus which, according to the story, then connected Rakiura to Southland. He asked the whale, Kewa, to eat through the land to create a channel so Kiwa could cross by waka. Crumbs that fell from the whale’s mouth became islands in Foveaux Strait. Solander Island (Hautere), which guards the western approaches of the strait, was also known as Te Niho a Kewa, a tooth lost from the whale’s mouth.