Celebrating 20 Years Of The Hauraki Gulf Marine Park
Ministers today celebrated 20 years of the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park/ Ko te Pataka kai o Tikapa Moana/ Te Moananui a Toi, and recognise there is much to celebrate and so much more to do to give nature a helping hand.
Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage said “New Zealanders care deeply about nature. I want to offer my thanks to those agencies, iwi, Forum members, and the community who have worked hard over the last 20 years to ensure generations now and in the future can enjoy Tikapa Moana.
“Together, our work is transforming Gulf islands into pest-free sanctuaries for endangered native birds, reptiles and insects - now we must turn our attention and go further and faster to restore our unique marine habitats.
“The Hauraki Gulf /Tikapa Moana was once home to abundant native shellfish that formed expansive reefs and beds. Most of these beds have now been lost through over-fishing and environmental degradation of land around the Gulf.
“Shellfish beds are vital to the healthy functioning of Tikapa Moana/ the Hauraki Gulf. They filter sediments and contaminants from seawater, provide a home for fish nurseries, stabilise the seabed, and enhance biodiversity – it’s important we do all we can to restore them and the health of the Gulf. This requires people to work together.
“We’re working to improve the health of the Hauraki Gulf. A Ministerial Advisory Committee is working through the recommendations from the collaborative Sea Change plan to prioritise and implement work. The Department of Conservation and Fisheries New Zealand are assisting, and a report to Ministers is due later this year.
Fisheries Minster Stuart Nash says “fisheries management in the Hauraki Gulf is an important component of overall collaborative restoration and rebuilding efforts,”
“Where stocks are depleted there are rebuilding plans in place and catches have been cut. This includes crayfish, snapper, and tarakihi. For shellfish beds, a new scientific survey of cockle and pipi habitats is underway.
“We are also looking at the ways in which we can better incorporate ecosystem-based fisheries management principals into the way we manage the Hauraki Gulf and the wider fisheries stocks,” Mr Nash said.
“There is a lot of mahi to do. Our Government is committed to working to restore and protect the health of Tikapa/Moana the Hauraki Gulf,” Eugenie Sage said.
The natural and historic features of the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park are protected for their national and international importance and the presence of wildlife and plants not found anywhere else in the world.
Pests have been eliminated from 15 additional islands since 2000. Covering more than 10,000 ha, 47 islands in the Gulf are now pest free sanctuaries which allows native birds to flourish.
The population of Northern New Zealand dotterel has doubled since an active management programme began in the 1980’s. As a bonus, variable oystercatchers – another ‘at risk’ species – also benefit from the dotterel management programme as they share the same breeding habitat.
One quarter of the world’s 88 whale and dolphin species visit Tikapa Moana, the Hauraki Gulf waters every year. The marine park is also a global seabird hotspot, with more than 26 species making it their home.
The Hauraki Gulf Marine Park Act 2000
By establishing some overall objectives for the Gulf, its islands and catchments, the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park Act achieves integrated management across land and sea, so that the effects of urban and rural land use on the Gulf are given proper attention and the life supporting capacity of the Gulf is protected.
The Act provides for integrated management of the Gulf across 21 statutes including the Resource Management Act, Conservation Act and Fisheries Act.
Hauraki Gulf Forum
The Hauraki Gulf Forum integrates management of the marine park across the boundaries of statutes and districts, through co-operation and better communication. It promotes the conservation and sustainable management of the natural, historic and physical resources of the Hauraki Gulf for the benefit and enjoyment of the people and communities of the Gulf and New Zealand.