How cool is it that we live in a place where people will turn out in force on a sunny Saturday where they could do anything they please in this nature-filled paradise, to watch a 2.5m bronze whaler shark be dissected in a public park?
Happy Harbour Fun Day was put on by Bay of Plenty Regional Council last Saturday at Memorial Park.
They wanted the community to see what the council does for the Tauranga Harbour, its surrounds and the wonderful (and sometimes weird) things that inhabit it.
There were microscopes to view some critters, crab hunts, fishing for prizes, flax weaving (yes, they grow by the harbour), food trucks, face painting and even an outdoor screening of Moana at 5pm — just a "drop in the ocean" of the activities/sights on offer. See what I did there? Ha.
And the shark getting dissected by people from the University of Waikato. That dissection lasted almost two hours and went up on the big screen so everyone could see it. I learned a lot about sharks … turns out their brains are tiny. I knew there was a reason I related to them.
Seeing little kids faces totally engrossed in something that some might consider pretty gory, was a good reminder to me that all hope is not lost! I know that sounds dramatic, but it was cool to see the really young being nothing but keen and full of questions about marine life and its sustainability in various forms.
Then I looked at the other end of the scale… the elderly. On the whole they also seemed super interested and at least I think learnt something about what's actually in the harbour and the plethora of projects and tasks the council does to make it all work/save it/set it up for the future.
The only difference between the young and the elderly was the complaints from the old people about how the shark stank and how they couldn't get a good enough view of it at times and the line for the coffee cart was too long… at this FREE event they were attending with 1000 other people… *Insert eye roll here!
Cheers BOPRC for the true essence of a free family fun day! See you again next year… we'll try to get a less smelly shark for the sensitive nasal passages of the crowd.
Will Johnston is host of The Hits 95FM Day Show. Live and local from 9am-3pm, every weekday in the Bay of Plenty.