There has been massive public support for the Hākaimangō-Matiatia (North-West Waiheke) Marine Reserve but… DOC is slow-walking the process. So we’ve launched a petition calling for support for the initiative – and for its inclusion in the government’s Revitalising the Gulf plan.

Please support the petition by visiting the petition web page.

Read our submission to DoC’s Revitalising the Gulf consultation.

For details of DOC’s lack of action see our August Newsletter

Dolphins in distress. Whakanewha Bay, Waiheke Island

Hakaimango-Matiatia (NW) Waiheke Marine Reserve
After nine months of public consultations the proposed marine reserve was formally notified on 20 January. submissions were open for two months and closed on 20 March.

There were 1303 submissions. Of these 89 were objections and 1183 submissions in support. There were 6 partial objections and 26 submissions in partial support.

Total support is 93%. This is an extraordinary expression of public support from Waiheke Island and across New Zealand – an unprecedented level for a marine reserve application which normally attract more opposition.

Graphic Shaun Lee

Response to Objections

The Friends of the Hauraki Gulf had one month to respond to objections – which embodied some 153 different objection points. These we responded to, frequently quoting from the overwhelming majority of positive submissions. The 100 page document (plus 100 pages of appendices) included the objections and our responses. This was forwarded to the Minister of Conservation Hon Kiritapu Allan on time on 20 April. The decision is now in the hands of the Minister. We call on her to respond to this overwhelming expression of public support and act by approving the application. It is time for the government to take meaningful action to protect the marine environment of the Hauraki Gulf.

Link to Response to Objections


  • Brief facts about the new marine reserve proposal:
  • The top-priority site recommended by marine scientists in feasibility studies commissioned by the Waiheke Local Board and published in 2017.
  • Is supported by the Ngāti Paoa Trust Board and descendants of 19th century leading Waiheke rangatira.
  • Located between Matiatia Point (the north head of Matiatia Bay) and Hakaimango (the western head of Oneroa Bay). Extends some 3.4 km north from Hakaimango; then 4.5 km westward to a line 2.1 km west of Matiatia, then southward 4.2km, thence eastward to Matiatia Point.
  • Is a marine ecological transition zone between the outer and inner Hauraki Gulf.
  • Has remarkable existing environmental values, a highly diverse, indented foreshore, islets and Miocene fossil bearing cliffs, highly productive undersea rock terraces and kelp forests making it highly suitable for ecological restoration.
  • An Important feeding ground for seabirds and marine mammals.
  • Ideal habitat for lost taonga species hāpuku, kōura (crayfish) and foraging kekeno (NZ fur seals
  • At 2350 ha it would be the largest marine reserve in the Hauraki Gulf.
  • Readily accessible for scientific study or for those who wish to just quietly appreciate the marine environment and the natural world.

Link to proposal

About Friends of the Hauraki Gulf

The Friends of the Hauraki Gulf is a Waiheke based incorporated society originally established in 2012. Among its purposes are ‘to research and advocate for the setting aside of marine protected areas, especially no-take marine reserves…’ and ‘to encourage and facilitate the scientific study of marine life and the natural history of the Hauraki Gulf.’

In 2013 it commissioned the first detailed underwater topographic survey of the northwest Waiheke coastline. This was carried out using side-scan sonar and undertaken by marine scientists Roger Grace, Vince Kerr and Dan Breen who followed up with a marine species survey of 15 sites in this area. This resulted in the paper Subtidal and intertidal habitats of the North coast of Waiheke Island (Hauraki Gulf) (Kerr & Grace 2013).

In early 2021, after waiting some four years to allow further scientific research sponsored by the Waiheke Local Board, and for an extended period of community discussion and debate; the Friends of the Hauraki Gulf refreshed and reorganised under a new management committee.

The Friends group is making a formal application for a marine reserve off the north-east coast of Waiheke Isaland, from Hakaimango Point to Matiatia. This location is recommended by scientists as the best feasible site in the coastal marine area of Waiheke. We have embarked upon this application process journey because we believe procrastination has gone on far too long and urgent action is now need to protect our marine environment and the precious wildlife in it.

We seek your support as we advance this important initiative.

Friends of the Hauraki Gulf is a registered incorporated society. The committee of the Friends group is:


Mike Lee – Chair
Mike Lee (MSc hons) is a long standing resident of Waiheke. The former chairman (2004-2010) of the Auckland Regional Council, Auckland Councillor for Waitematā & Gulf (2010-2019) and former deputy chair of the Hauraki Gulf Forum (2007-2010). Mike was the founding chair of Waiheke Forest & Bird in 1982 and served again as branch chair from 1992 to 1995. Mike organised the first volunteer tree planting excursions to Tiritiri Matangi in 1984 and as chair of ARC regional parks was instrumental in the ARC acquiring Whakanewha as the first regional park in the Hauraki Gulf. As a field conservationist Mike has been involved in the removal of rodents from numerous Hauraki Gulf islands and islets. Currently a focus of his work is on Motu Kaikoura near Aotea Great Barrier Island. Of the five marine reserves achieved within the Hauraki Gulf, Mike has been involved with four of them, especially the last Tawharanui Marine Reserve gazetted in 2010.
Chris Curreen – Secretary
Chris is a keen and committed conservationist who has  taught Biology for 30 years at Waiheke High School. She has been involved in school-based projects studying a wide range of habitats on Waiheke Island. “It is a pleasure to be working with experts in this area of marine science.”
Sid Marsh – Treasurer
Sid has a 48-year association with the Hauraki Gulf going back to diving for Orere Point mussels as a boy. In the 1980s he took part in fish/marine life surveys at the Motukawao Islands, Hen and Chicks, Goat Island Marine Reserve and the Kermadec Islands. In the 1990s Sid lived on Hauturu / Little Barrier for three years as a ranger, and from 1985-89 was a diving instructor based at NZ’s largest dive shop in the Orakei Basin. In his professional life Sid is a contracted conservation field worker specialising in kiwi and kōkako recovery programmes
Dr Leith Duncan
Leith has lived on Waiheke since 1978. In 1982 before the Hauraki Gulf was declared a ‘Controlled Fishery’ Leith did a survey of how commercial fishermen in the Viaduct believed the Gulf should be managed. He then joined a Danish Seiner seeking alternative fisheries around the coast. He attended MAF consultations for the introduction of the Quota Management System (QMS); and became a consultant for Greenpeace New Zealand, and then Greenpeace International Fisheries Campaigns. Leith was a facilitator for the Forest and Bird application for a Waiheke marine reserve at Te Matuku Bay. Leith then did a PhD in Human Geography at Waikato University on the social implications of the QMS for snapper fishermen and their communities in the Hauraki Gulf.
Alex Stone
Alex is an award-winning writer and artist based on Waiheke Island, a passionate marine conservationist and the original founder of the Friends. He has sailed, researched and written about the Hauraki Gulf for over 30 years.

Email: info@friendsofhau

We need your help

We will gratefully receive and acknowledge donations to our cause. All the work has been done, and now we need a little more to get our proposal over the line. Our bank account details are:

Friends of the Hauraki Gulf
Kiwibank, Oneroa, Waiheke Island
38-9014-0667755-01

Empirical evidence shows that 10.6% of newly settled juvenile snappers sampled up to 55 km outside of the Cape Rodney – Okakari Point (Leigh) marine reserve were the offspring of adult snappers from the marine reserve. This suggests a significant boost to the commercial fishery of $NZ 1.49 million catch landing value per annum and $NZ 3.21 million added from recreational fishing activity associated spending per annum. These values all come from the recruitment effects associated with one species, from only 0.08% of the marine space in the Hauraki Gulf, New Zealand. The economic valuation of this marine reserve’s snapper recruitment effect demonstrated $NZ 9.64 million in total spending accruing to recreational fishing per annum and $NZ 4.89 million in total output to commercial fisheries annually.

Qu et al. 2021.

Read the full paper here

Statement in support of the Ngāti Paoa rāhui, January 2021

Thank you, Ngāti Paoa, for taking the lead on this great initiative.

This is to record the total support of the Friends of the Hauraki Gulf for your rāhui proposal. It will be a powerful gesture of environmental leadership. In this, I speak for the about 300 people on our supporters list.

 In designing the rāhui, may we suggest you address three issues: longevity (please make the rāhui for at least 10 years); a greater range of keystone species included; and a big area (the entire Waiheke coastline, out for at least 200m – this will protect the rocky reefs, the beaches, and the mangrove habitats.)

Please be aware that we will still be working on the idea of a network of marine reserves to work alongside the rāhui They go together well. When you said in your closing remarks at the hui at Piritahi Marae, that you would like a “rāhui on all species for all time”, well that is a marine reserve.

Alex Stone


Newsletters

November 2022

This newsletter contains our formal submission to the Government’s ‘Revitalising the Gulf’ Plan.

August 2022

Photo Mike Lee

Our response to objections May 2022

Photo Shaun Lee

SUBMISSION RESULTS March 2022

Photo Shaun Lee

March 2022 Special

Photo Irene van de Ven

March 2022

Photo David Roebeck

January 2022 – special update

Photo Andy Spence

January 2022

Triple Fin on Sulphur Sponge - photo by Shaun Lee
Photo Shaun Lee

November 2021

Photos Shaun Lee

October 2021

Graphic Shaun Lee

September 2021

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Graphic Shaun Lee

August 2021

Graphic Shaun Lee

July 2021

Graphic Shaun Lee

June 2021

May 2021


Research
These are links to scientific studies done on the marine environment of Waiheke:

1. Subtidal and intertidal habitats of the North Coast of Waiheke Island (Hauraki Gulf). Vince Kerr & Roger Grace(2013)

2. A species survey of underwater species at 15 sites on the NW Waiheke coastline. This done by members of the Auckland University Underwater Club, under the direction of Dr Roger Grace (2013).

3. The Colmar Brunton survey of Waiheke community attitudes to marine protection (2015) [Waiheke Local Board]

4. A Gaps & Feasibility study of a recommended network of marine reserves for Waiheke. eCoast, Dr Tim Haggitt (2016) [Waiheke Local Board]

5. Ecological survey of the NW coastline of Waiheke. eCoast Dr Tim Haggitt (2016) [Waiheke Local Board

Further reading

Economic valuation of the snapper recruitment effect from a well-established temperate no-take marine reserve on adjacent fisheries. Marine Policy 134 1-8. (2021). Zoe Qu., Simon Thrush., Darren Parsons & Nicolas Lewis.

No-take marine reserves are the most effective protected areas in the ocean
A paper by Dr Enric Sala and Dr Sylvaine Giakoumi from the ICES Journal 2018

Fifty years on: Lessons from marine reserves in New Zealand and principles for a worldwide network
A paper by Dr Bill Ballantine in Biological Conservation 2014

State of Our Gulf Report 2020 Hauraki Gulf Forum

How to create a marine reserve proposal

A complete guide.

Quotable

“Forest & Bird believes the Hauraki Gulf and New Zealand would benefit from the creation of more marine reserves.  Marine reserves are proven to be the most effective way to protect our marine environment, leading to the recovery of fish stocks, improvement in the marine environment and benefits to the local community.  Forest & Bird encourages the community to become involved in the consultation process being run by the Friends of Hauraki Gulf and to have your say on where a second Marine Reserve for Waiheke can be created.”
Andrew Cutler, former national president, Forest & Bird

“The scientific benefits of marine reserves proved so numerous that it became clear that marine reserves are as important to science as clean apparatus is to chemistry, and for the same reason. They are the controls for the uncontrolled experiment that is happening due to fishing and other human activities.”
Dr Bill Ballantine From Fifty years on: Lessons from marine reserves in New Zealand and principles for a worldwide network,a paper published in Biological Conservation, August 2014.

“The known benefits of marine reserves already form a long list and cover a wide range. More are being discovered at a rapid rate. Many direct benefits to science, education, conservation, and various forms of recreation are now well-established. Indirect benefits – to the fishing industry, to tourism, to resource planning, and to ecosystem health – are steadily becoming clearer, from empirical data and from modelling. The potential benefits of marine reserves are universal in scientific and social terms. They are independent of bio-geographical region and ecological habitat, and also of culture, politics and economics. Marine reserves can work anywhere. “
Dr Bill Ballantine. Marine Reserves for New Zealand.  Marine biology bulletin ‘Marine Reserves for New Zealand’ (1991).

“A new meta-analysis of previous studies shows that biomass of whole fish assemblages in marine reserves is, on average, 670% greater than in adjacent unprotected areas, and 343% greater than in partially-protected MPAs. Marine reserves also help restore the complexity of ecosystems through a chain of ecological effects (trophic cascades) once the abundance of large animals recovers sufficiently.”
Dr Enric Sala, Dr Sylvaine Giakoumi
From No-take marine reserves are the most effective protected areas in the ocean, a paper published by the ICES journal of Marine Science, May-June 2018


Change in sea life in the Hauraki Gulf since human arrival
(Graphic Shaun Lee) – ‘State Of Our Gulf‘ report 2020.


Research
These are links to scientific studies done on the marine environment of Waiheke:

1. Subtidal and intertidal habitats of the North Coast of Waiheke Island (Hauraki Gulf). Vince Kerr & Roger Grace(2013)

2. A species survey of underwater species at 15 sites on the NW Waiheke coastline. This done by members of the Auckland University Underwater Club, under the direction of Dr Roger Grace (2013).

3. The Colmar Brunton survey of Waiheke community attitudes to marine protection (2015) [Waiheke Local Board]

4. A Gaps & Feasibility study of a recommended network of marine reserves for Waiheke. eCoast, Dr Tim Haggitt (2016) [Waiheke Local Board]

5. Ecological survey of the NW coastline of Waiheke. eCoast Dr Tim Haggitt (2016) [Waiheke Local Board

Further reading

Economic valuation of the snapper recruitment effect from a well-established temperate no-take marine reserve on adjacent fisheries. Marine Policy 134 1-8. (2021). Zoe Qu., Simon Thrush., Darren Parsons & Nicolas Lewis.

No-take marine reserves are the most effective protected areas in the ocean
A paper by Dr Enric Sala and Dr Sylvaine Giakoumi from the ICES Journal 2018

Fifty years on: Lessons from marine reserves in New Zealand and principles for a worldwide network
A paper by Dr Bill Ballantine in Biological Conservation 2014

State of Our Gulf Report 2020 Hauraki Gulf Forum