Jono Ridler takes his message for the Hauraki Gulf to Parliament
Date: 30 May 2023


Today open water endurance swimmer Jono Ridler is meeting with politicians in Wellington following his record breaking 33-hour swim from Aotea Great Barrier Island to Campbells Bay on Auckland’s North Shore earlier this month.

Ridler is together with a group who closely supported Swim4TheGulf including Sally Paterson, Chief Executive of marine conservation charity Live Ocean Foundation, Alex Rogers, Chief Executive of the Hauraki Gulf Forum.

For Ridler Swim4TheGulf, done in partnership with Live Ocean, was part personal challenge, part challenge to the nation’s decision makers. He wanted to draw attention to the declining state of the Hauraki Gulf, Tīkapa Moana Te Moananui-ā-Toi and the 33-year-old says he’s been humbled and heartened by the support and interest his swim generated.

“I wanted to make this swim bigger than me,” says Ridler. “What I’d like to see marked in history is that Swim4TheGulf helped inspire a turning point for the Hauraki Gulf, to bring it back to a thriving and flourishing marine ecosystem.

“The extent to which Swim4TheGulf really captured people’s attention outstripped my wildest hopes. It’s highlighted for me that so many others feel the same way I do – I’m not the only New Zealander who wants to leave my children and grandchildren with a healthy and productive ocean.

“The Hauraki Gulf is incredibly special, but it’s in trouble. I’ve come to Wellington with a message from Auckland – we want our political leaders acting with urgency to restore and protect the Hauraki Gulf for generations to come.”

Sally Paterson from Live Ocean says she’s incredibly proud of Ridler’s effort.

“What Jono’s remarkable swim has done is bring people from across the nation around an environmental issue in a way that’s rarely seen. His feat of human endurance, and willingness to push to edge of physical and mental limits has really bought people together around this important issue.” “I’m so impressed by his ambition, and standing here in Wellington with him today makes me feel hopeful, for the future of the Hauraki Gulf. We need a healthy ocean for a healthy future.”

Alex Rogers, Hauraki Gulf Forum Chief Executive says he, like the rest of New Zealand was glued to the Swim4TheGulf live tracker for the duration of Ridler’s 33-hour non-stop, no-wetsuit swim. “Like everyone else I was transfixed until he came ashore at Campbells Bay.”

“Jono has shown us what courage and determination looks like. We need to see that same level of ambition from government when it comes to the Gulf. We know that New Zealanders overwhelmingly support the creation of new marine protected areas in the Gulf as well as getting rid of antiquated fishing practices like dredging. It’s time to get it done,” says Rogers.

Ridler left from Karaka Bay, Aotea, Great Barrier Island at 10am on the morning of Tuesday 2 May in an attempt to break the New Zealand record for the longest non-stop open water unassisted swim, and to draw attention to the very body of ocean he was traversing.

Just over 33 hours later he walked ashore at Campbells Bay on Auckland’s north shore having faced deteriorating conditions with increasing winds and sea state across day two of the swim. He’d well exceeded the standing record of 80.8km with the process of ratification still underway to determine the actual point to point distance to go down in the history books.


Sign up