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All about the Guardians

  Here you can learn all about the Guardians of Pāuatahanui Inlet:

Guardians of Pāuatahanui Inlet (GOPI), a registered charity, was set up in 1991. We are a community group, largely funded by member subscriptions. For specific activities, such as cleaning up the inlet or running our annual photographic competition, we receive assistance from Porirua City Council and sponsorship from local businesses. Everyone in GOPI is a volunteer.

      • We develop policies on matters that affect the Pāuatahanui Inlet;

      • We make submissions to local, regional and central governments;

      • We provide opportunities for residents and visitors to care for and celebrate the Inlet.

Membership is by subscription and the number of subscriptions currently stands at about 110. This includes couples and family memberships, mostly of local residents.

You too can become a member.

Details can be found on our ‘Join Us’ page.

This image was taken by Gaela Crothers for our 2013 Photographic Competition. It was created by gathering a heap of sea lettuce (Ulva lactuca) and arranging it as you see.


The Logo

The modern logo of Guardians of Pāuatahanui Inlet was selected in 2012. It features a cockle, which is of course an iconic species for the Inlet, set in a stylised background of the hills around its shores.

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When choosing an image for our logo, we investigated the meaning of ‘Pāuatahanui’, looking for an appropriate reference within the Māori name of the Inlet we work for. Interestingly, we found that the meaning is not yet settled but one of several possible suggestions, by Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori (The Māori Language Commission) is ‘a large shellfish’.

The Commission believes that local Māori have the knowledge to decide on the true meaning but as yet there is no definitive answer. However, this question about the meaning of ‘Pāuatahanui’ is explored in more detail on our page:

 ‘Pāuatahanui — The Name

Even if the meaning didn’t refer to a large shellfish, the cockle population is such an essential part of the Inlet’s environment that it is a highly appropriate symbol for us to choose.

Our Objectives

The formal objectives of the organisation can be represented briefly as follows.

The Guardians of Pāuatahanui Inlet:

      • supports the implementation of the Porirua Harbour Strategy and Action Plan by the management agencies;
      • informs and educates the public about The Inlet, consults with the communities around The Inlet and provides opportunities for the public to share in celebrating and caring for The Inlet;
      • prepares submissions on plans, proposals, and resource management applications affecting The Inlet and its catchment;
      • promotes research and monitoring on the state of The Inlet and also undertakes some monitoring directly.

This is just a summary of our objectives. The complete list is available on this website.

History of the Guardians

GOPI was founded in 1991 by a group of local residents who were concerned about the Inlet. They felt that although the Inlet environment had for some years been under threat from human activities around its shores, no organisation with comprehensive interests in defending Inlet ecology existed.

From the beginning, GOPI’s aims were set out to promote public understanding of Inlet ecology and to press for the restoration of degraded habitats by responsible local authorities.

GOPI began ‘hands-on’ restoration work and ecological monitoring, made submissions on local developments and other issues that potentially affected the Inlet environment, set up education and publicity programmes, developed a website to inform the public about our activities and started publishing a tri-annual newsletter.

In 1994 we received the Wellington Regional Environmental Agency Environmental Award.

In 2004 our environmental efforts again received public recognition when we won in the Heritage and Environment category of the Wellington Airport Regional Community Awards.

In 2006, ‘in recognition of outstanding effort in the World of Water Science and Technology Promotion’ we were awarded a Certificate of Achievement by Partners Porirua, jointly with Plimmerton School.

On 11 November 2011 GOPI became registered as a charity.

In September 2014 for the second time we were the Porirua winner of the Heritage and Environment category of the Wellington Airport Regional Community Awards.

In 2015 the Pāuatahanui Inlet Community Trust (PICT), originally set up in 2002, felt it had achieved most of the objectives for which it was formed and considered how its focus could best be served in the future. It was decided that several of its members would join the Guardians to offer their services in an appropriate way with the intention of strengthening the advocacy capacity of GOPI.