(Photo: Jereme Aubertin)
My name is Mischa Davis. I am the 2013 New Zealand Women’s National Surfing Champion, a title I won in my home of Piha this past summer. I was very lucky to be born into a surfing family and to grow up on Piha beach. I have spent my whole life in the ocean and now I can’t imagine my life without it. It’s my escape from my busy mind and hectic schedule at law school. We can all relate to that feeling of being in awe of nature when we visit places like Piha. For me, having Piha as my playground has taught me independence, given me purpose, and very importantly taught me to respect nature. I can’t imagine a life not wanting to protect it.
However our precious coastlines are now facing a very serious threat. New Zealand is witnessing the largest oil exploration programme ever undertaken here. Texan oil company Anadarko, the same company that was directly involved in the devastating Gulf of Mexico oil spill, has just announced plans to start deep sea drilling off the West Coast of the North Island this summer. Looking at the spill model data, if an accident were to occur at this drill location, the effects would directly hit my home of Piha. Once the spill begins, there simply is no way to contain it. The damage to our marine environment, coastlines, economy and reputation would be catastrophic.