A Coromandel Harbourmaster has amazingly been stood down after saving an Orca which got its tail caught in a cray pot last night. The Government Department responsible for any rescue attempt (DOC) was alerted at 9.30am yesterday. At 7pm it still could not get to the Orca so locals decided to get involved and do it themselves. Whitianga Harbourmaster Matthew Collicott stepped in. He teamed up with Cathedral Cove water taxi operators and they untangled the Orca around 1am today in a challenging night operation.
Considering there are so few Orca left in New Zealand, I’d consider these two men heroes. And yet the Waikato Regional Council who employs the Harbourmaster have stood him down, pending in their words, “A Full and Proper Investigation.” Which is quite absurd really.
You have the incompetence of DOC who failed to make it out there despite 12 hours of daylight. You have an endangered species struggling to breath with a crayfish pot wrapped around its tail. And the bloke who stepped up and made the rescue happen is penalized. Any investigation should really be looking at why DOC couldn’t make it out there despite the considerable resource at their disposal. Also why they never made calls to rescue experts Dr. Ingrid Visser or Project Jonah.
If there was one bloke who you’d hope might be afforded some support in this situation, it is the Harbormaster. He is responsible for those waters and its wildlife – Not just the buoys and Boats. He made the decision to save the Orca and deserves a big thank you from the Waikatio Regional Authority, rather than being reprimanded and stood down.