|Around the New Zealand coast there are over 2000 shipwrecks,
the first one recorded, dated 1795. Of the 150 or so wrecks that have
been relocated, many of them have been subjected to fossicking by divers
for the odd relic, many of which have not received the necessary conservation
treatment, to prevent them from deteriorating and have been unfortunately
lost. Once removed from site without correct recording of the site, their
context in relation to the wreck is lost, therefore their relevance to
history is also lost.
These activities not only deprive the nation of these treasures, but also destroy the historical value of these artefacts.
Shipwrecks provide us with a fascinating glimpse of the past. The cargo and the possessions of the crew and passengers can give us an insight in to the life style of the people, the countries they come from and their destination.
The remains of the vessels can provide us with information on building techniques and materials used in their construction.
So much valuable information is lost through incorrect wreck investigation, through lack of knowledge or understanding of how important these finds might be.
In New Zealand, approximately 1125 of the more than 2000 known shipwrecks are protected by the Historic Places Act 1993. These are vessels that sank over 100 years ago.
All shipwrecks are protected by the Maritime Transport Act 1994. However, these Acts alone cannot save these wrecks. In an attempt to protect New Zealand's rich maritime heritage, a group of concerned divers and non-divers joined together to form this association through which it is hoped that divers and others can be educated to act responsibly and correctly with sites and artefacts.
The objects of the Association are: