The Bay community is being urged to support a funding-raising exhibition of underwater photos of Astrolabe Reef as part of a campaign calling for the Rena exclusion zone to stay.

Zeus gallery director Elliot Mason is hosting the Save the Astrolabe Reef exhibition event at the gallery on the corner of Chapel St and Marsh St.

A black tie launch will be held tomorrow night followed by public viewing at the gallery until 4pm on March 14 - the day submissions closed on the call for a two-year rahui.

Passionate local biologist Te Atarangi Sayers said the artworks which would be for sale by tender had been donated by well-known photographer Darryl Torckler and Maketu's freelance photographer Andy Belcher.


Mr Sayers, of Nga Hapu o Motiti, is urging the community to come along to the exhibition and also to make submissions towards a temporary two-year closure application filed last month with the Minster of Primary Industries Nathan Guy.

"We are calling for the continued closure of the the exclusion zone around the Rena wreck for at least another two years," he said.

Mr Sayers said since the exclusion zone had put in place five summers ago, the marine life and fish species had flourished.

"The application is for a three-nautical mile exclusion zone around the wreck, and no fishing in the marine protected area, but anyone can still boat, dive and snorkel within the protected area."

Mr Sayers implored the community to support tangata whenua's bid for a rahui in the area and allow marine life to continue to heal.

Mr Sayers said all the proceeds from the sale of the artworks would go towards making the reef a marine reserve.