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An emotional Warren Lewis, longtime marine advocate and Port Chalmers fisherman, was speaking at the unveiling of the Boiler Point fishing jetty that has now been named after him.
Yesterday afternoon, Dunedin Mayor Aaron Hawkins unveiled the new name, Warren Lewis fishing jetty, and a plaque at a ceremony held on the jetty.
"A true fisherman and champion of public access to our beautiful harbour," the plaque read.
Mr Lewis (72) sat on the Port Environment Committee for over 20 years and lobbied for the jetty in that time.
He is a life member of the New Zealand Recreational Fishing Council and former member of the New Zealand Sport Fishing Council.
Mr Lewis’ other passion was marine search and rescue.
He was last year awarded a 40-year service certificate and has been involved in rescues and recoveries in the harbour.
The jetty, completed in 2019, sits behind Port Otago’s multipurpose berth at Port Chalmers.
It is purpose built for local people to use for fishing.
"It is overwhelming. It was a lot of work and a lot of effort but as I said, it is ours, it is the community’s.
"It’s not a smelly old wharf, it is not a place we can tie boats up, it is solely what it is," he said.
Seeing his name on the plaque made Mr Lewis "very, very proud".
"You have no idea. It is very emotional, it is an absolute honour," he said.
New public toilets have been installed and a new walkway went in last year.
Port Otago was always going to name the jetty "something more exciting" after the upgrades were completed, the port’s chairman Paul Rea said.
"We turned our minds to naming the jetty and, when you looked back on the history of the project, Warren’s name kept coming up as the person who hounded Port Otago through direct engagement, the consent processes and via the Port Environment Committee," he said.
Mr Lewis’ connection with Port Chalmers goes back to 1865, when his family arrived in the area.
"We’ve fished on the harbour, we’ve lived on the harbour, fished commercially on the harbour.
"We grew up swimming around here, none of this health and safety then, we were over ships, under ships, around ships," he said.
It was a great spot to catch all sorts of fish, Mr Lewis said.
"They catch everything here from kingfish, trevally, blue cod, and the odd crayfish," he said.