Surfer paddles 350km to Piha in protest

MICHELLE ROBINSON
Last updated 10:53 30/11/2012
Dave Rastovich

LONG JOURNEY: Dave Rastovich, bottom right, will be weclomed at Piha Beach after his paddle from Taranaki.

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Surfer Dave Rastovich is used to paddling into the waves, but tomorrow he'll finish an epic 350km paddle from Taranaki to Piha.

The New Zealand born Australian set out from Taranaki on a paddle-board on November 16 in protest against sand mining on the West Coast.

The 35-year-old will be welcomed at the West Auckland beach from 11am by former Waitakere mayor and activist Bob Harvey and local surfers.
 
"People the world over come to experience the raw, untouched waters of New Zealand and celebrate a space not yet disturbed by industrial humanity," Rastovich said.

"Yet, if widespread seabed mining reaches the coastal waters of this country, the allure of visiting a once pristine place will disappear."

His journey from Cape Taranaki covers the area that Trans-Tasman Resources is surveying.

The stretch is also home to the critically endangered Maui's dolphin, of which only 55 are believed to exist.

Kiwis Against Seabed Mining and global organisation Surfers for Cetaceans, which Rastovich co-founded, have joined forces for the campaign. Sustainable Coastlines and Greenpeace have also offered their support.

"All would be threatened if the sand flow is interrupted and a coastline littered with flawless waves could be irretrievably altered," Rastovich said.

"Seabed mining will undoubtedly threaten the future of the critically endangered Popoto/Maui's dolphin."

Sustainable Coastlines co-founder and events director Sam Judd said the effects of the mining were unknown.

"People are going to try and use New Zealand as a testing ground for it," he said.
 
"But what they're proposing won't create jobs. It's just a slice of the money. Ships will be coming in and dredging and taking the ore to Asia for processing."

Trans-Tasman Resources said New Zealand will benefit economically through royalties, tax income and employment.

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