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A Positive Change For Tīkapa Moana, The Hauraki Gulf

WWF-New Zealand is thrilled to finally see the Government take action to revitalize the Gulf – based on Tai Timu Tai Pari/Sea Change - the Hauraki Gulf Marine Spatial Plan. We appreciate the hard work put in to get this across the line because there is a great deal to be happy about within this plan, particularly:

The commitment to recognise Māori as Kaitiaki and Rangatira over their resources. WWF is excited there will be two pilots for Ahu Moana to explore mana whenua and community ambitions. We would encourage the Government to also support other communities in the gulf that are already demonstrating this approach.

Using an integrated, mountains to seas approach and a commitment to ecosystem based management. This will help to ensure we address the full range of interactions and threats affecting our marine environment.

A commitment to habitat restoration including a commitment to restore the habitat of rare or endangered species.

An increase in the level of marine protection.

While improved marine protection is always a good thing, WWF is concerned the proposed new protection areas do not go far enough.

“WWF asked for 30% of the Gulf to be placed in effective marine protection areas because that is the bare minimum needed to help restore the health and build the resilience of Tīkapa Moana,” says Oceans Practice Manager Lucy Jacob. “The Government is claiming an increase of protection to 18%, but many of these areas are not full protected areas. This is a great start but if we want to fix the mess we’ve created, we must be more ambitious.”

Therefore, we call on the Government to keep the consultation process open and enable other collaborative solutions to come to the table. Together, we can be more ambitious and help reach the goals established by the Hauraki Gulf Forum: 30% marine protection,1000km2 of shellfish bed and reef restoration, catchment planting, and an end to marine dumping.

“After years of inaction, we are finally seeing real positive action to help repair the damage we have caused in the Hauraki Gulf. By recognising the critical role that mana whenua play, proposing new collaborative ways or working, and showing a commitment to address the threats facing the gulf, this gives us the greatest opportunity for success,” continues Jacob.

WWF is thrilled the Government is taking real, positive, meaningful action to protect Tīkapa Moana, Te Moana Nui a Toi/The Hauraki Gulf. But this is the first step. We look forward to working with iwi, hapū, coastal communities, and the Government to strengthen protections to restore the Hauraki Gulf for future generations.

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