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Capital’s new marine reserve now open

7 September 2008 Media Release
Embargoed 9am Sunday 7 September 2008

Capital’s new marine reserve now open

Conservation Week 2008 (7-14 September) has kicked off in style, with the opening of the Taputeranga Marine Reserve on Wellington’s south coast. Conservation Minister Steve Chadwick today officially declared the 854 hectare reserve open at a ceremony at Island Bay Beach.

“It is wonderful to be opening the reserve on the first day of Conservation Week, which this year is about getting out in your region to Meet the Locals, Tutakitia te Iwi Kainga,” Steve Chadwick said.

“With the new reserve being right on the doorstep of our capital city - in easy reach of more than 300,000 people – it provides exactly the kind of opportunity we are highlighting this week. We are encouraging New Zealanders to get out and experience our spectacular natural heritage – in this case, the incredible marine ecosystems of Wellington’s south coast.

“This is a week to celebrate our natural environment, and a fantastic opportunity to increase community awareness and appreciation of the coast and ocean.

“It does seem somewhat ironic that in a week when we are promoting our natural heritage, and I am officially opening New Zealand’s 17th marine reserve since 2000, National have released a bland conservation policy that fails to address the protection of our precious marine environment.”

The new marine reserve extends 2.3 km out to sea and 3.3 km along Wellington’s south coast encompassing Owhiro, Island and Houghton Bays.

Taputeranga is located at the meeting point of three oceanic currents, bringing together warm, cold temperate, and sub-Antarctic waters. This convergence allows a rich and unusual variety of sea life to thrive and last year more than 551 species, including at least four new ones, were discovered in the area.

After the ceremony the public were invited to walk along the coastline between Island and Owhiro Bays, to ‘meet the locals’ involved with the reserve along the way. Representatives from the Department of Conservation, Forest and Bird, the Wellington Marine Conservation Trust, Wellington City Council, NIWA, Ministry of Fisheries, local dive shops and community gave short presentations along the walk.

“Conservation of our natural and historic heritage is at the heart of what it means to be a New Zealander and this new marine reserve gives the public yet another opportunity to explore our spectacular natural world.”

Visit the DOC website to find out more about the reserve: www.doc.govt.nz>parks and recreation>places to visit>wellington>poneke>taputeranga marine reserve

ends

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