Photo Shaun Lee

Hākaimangō - Matiatia (NW Waiheke) Marine Reserve application – Update on progress

First of all thank you all once again for your magnificent response to the public notification process. The result 93% of submissions in support, as opposed to 7% against, is by any definition a landslide. It’s an amazingly overwhelming expression of public support.

Such an emphatic level of popular support for a marine reserve we believe is quite unprecedented. Clearly it reflects a growing public awareness of the need for urgent action to protect our marine environment. This now has become high priority for conservation-minded New Zealanders. The breakdown of public submissions has been refined by DOC but the overall figures remain pretty much the same as we originally interpreted them.

These are as follows:

1303 Submissions

84 Objections plus 5 Objections in support

6 Partially object

25 Partially support

1183 Support


90.8% Support

93.0% General support (Support + Partially support + Object in support).

Graphic Shaun Lee

Response to Objections

Our final responsibility as applicants under the Marine Reserves Act (1971) was to respond to the 89 objections (though as noted five of these were actually in support). These covered 153 separate objection points or ‘themes’. Under the Act we had only one month to complete this work.

Working as a team the Friends of the Hauraki Gulf tackled the task, working through Easter, and completed the work within the statutory deadline.

The final document amounting to 105 pages plus extensive appendices including the original Application was sent to DOC and forwarded immediately onwards to the Minister of Conservation Hon Kiritapu Allan on 20 April.

Minister of Conservation Hon Kiritapu Allan

In response to media requests we are now making the document available to the media and to the public.

Read the full document here

Staunch support from Ngāti Paoa Trust Board & the Piritahi Marae

The Friends of the Hauraki Gulf are gratified by the strong support for this marine reserve application from the Ngāti Paoa Trust Board and the local Piritahi Marae. Ngati Paoa are the tangata whenua for this area and the Trust Board co-chair Danella Roebeck honoured us by contributing the foreword to our Response to Objections – Whakatu ki nga Whakahē document.

While noting the objection from the Ngati Paoa Iwi Trust, the Ngāti Paoa Trust Board’s support was also reinforced by the support of 70% of submitters identifying as Māori, including rangatahi campaigning against the Kennedy Point marina, including members of Protect Pūtiki and their marae Horowhenua ki Tai.

Danella Roebeck of the Ngāti Paoa Trust Board writes that the marine reserve application…

“…has synergies with kaitiakitanga as a principle and has a direct connection to
mātauranga māori values, in that there is a wider awareness of the environment and allows for greater input into decisions that drive what science is being done…

“Ngāti Paoa are driven by principles of kaitiakitanga (environment responsibility), manaakitanga (capability building), and taonga tuku iho mō ngā uri whakatipu (guardianshipof resources for future generations). Ngāti Paoa will walk alongside Friends of the Hauraki Gulf in support of the application to establish the Hākaimangõ-Matiatia Marine Reserve, and that the mana of Ngāti Paoa Iwi/hapū support will help to make our joint aspirations a reality.’”

For the full text of the foreword and the views of other Māori submitters, including those opposed, please see the document.

Scientists in support

The Marine Reserves Act is very much about science and scientific study of the marine environment. It was especially heartening to see the number of positive submissions from respected scientists and scientific organisations that emphasised these points. Submitter Tony Chamberlain summed these up extremely well.

‘This reserve will provide an ideal scientific study area for the Gulf showing how quickly marine species can recover with protection. Not only is it a zone between the inner and outer Gulf and as such scientifically important. Not only does it provide opportunities for research on species and their environment it would also provide an unexploited control area (c.f. Ballantine, W. & Langlois), showing the comparison between natural unexploited nature and the consequences of harvest or other exploitation. It would also offer a contrast of, for example, rates of recovery between a no-take marine reserve and a marine protected area as I believe, is being proposed for the Noises Group just to the north. Such a comparison would be of global interest. In addition, it would provide a control area to show the effectiveness of the kelp farming efforts on the northern coast. Since the proposed reserve is in a transition zone, it offers a scientific comparison with the more estuarine reserves at Te Matuku and Pollen Island. Scientific purposes alone offer ample reason for the formation of this proposed no-take marine reserve.’

While Kathy Wallis, President of the Marine Sciences Society wrote

‘The proposed marine reserve only covers ~5% of the Waiheke coastline so in our view this provides a small first step in a more holistic and community-wide approach to
marine conservation on Waiheke Island. In addition, NZMSS believes that more no-take marine protected areas are needed to enable the establishment of an effective MPA network
for the Hauraki Gulf.’

In terms of education, this will be the only marine reserve in New Zealand with 4 schools within 5km of the site. The Fossil Bay School will be the first in New Zealand to be on a marine reserve waterfront property.

The reserve will be of great value to the well-established Waiheke High School SeaSports Academy, which is already equipping young people with all the skills of outdoor leadership in a marine environment.

Every other school in Auckland will also have public-transport access to the Hākaimangō-Matiatia Marine Reserve.’

Photo Andy Spence

‘Benefit of the public’

A key objective of the Marine Reserves Act is that while being suitable for scientific study a marine reserve must also be for the ‘benefit of the public...’

These include economic benefits and we note again the ground-breaking research of Auckland University’s (Qu et al 2021) revealing significant economic benefits just from the spawning of just one species (tāmure / snapper) in one of the smallest marine reserves in the Hauraki Gulf (Cape Rodney-Okakari Point Marine Reserve 547ha).

These benefits amount to $1.9 million annually plus $NZ 3.21 million added from recreational fishing activity associated spending per annum. 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.

The Hākaimangō-Matiatia Marine Reserve, being four times bigger and perhaps more advantageously placed to distribute larvae of many species through the Hauraki Gulf, is likely to have an even greater economic benefit in this regard.

Former Conservation Minister speaks out in support of the Hākaimangō-Matiatia Marine Reserve

A key submitter addressing the aspect of public benefit was a former Minister of Conservation Hon Chris Carter who during his five years as Minister achieved a number of important conservation gains across the country, but perhaps especially conservation in the Hauraki Gulf where he led the purchase of Motu Kaikoura, approved the successful eradication of rats and other pest animals from Hauturu / Little Barrier, Rangitoto and Motutapu Islands and approved and opened the Te Matuku Marine Reserve on Waiheke. Chris writes…

‘Establishment of the Hākaimangō-Mataitai Marine Reserve would establish a marine sanctuary in the mid Gulf, an area 10 times the size of the Tiritiri Matangi Nature Reserve, one of the jewels in our terrestrial conservation portfolio.

“Today there is an even more urgent need for expanding marine protection in the Hauraki Gulf for the issues of declining marine biodiversity and pollution that l have outlined. Hākaimangō-Matiatia Marine Reserve, a proposal supported by numerous local conservation groups, the Waiheke Island Local Board and l understand, the Ngāti Paoa Trust Board, already has wide popular support and is a bold conservation initiative.

“The establishment of this new Hākaimangō- Matiatia marine reserve, in my considered opinion, is a long overdue marine conservation initiative. It has my whole hearted support.”

Former Minister of Conservation Hon Chris Carter.

How you can help
We need the help of all conservationists to remind the government that this landslide of public support for the new marine reserve cannot, must not, be ignored,

Please keep up letter-writing to editors, posting on social media, talking to your MPs and local government representatives about this. Please, let us not allow the initiative to be overlooked.

Blue-eyed triplefin Notoclinops segmentatus Photo Wikim.edia Commons

Abode of the triplefin

by Sid Marsh

Numbering 26 species the triplefin family is our most abundant shallow water reef fish. All of these have three dorsal fins, and are also known as blennies and cockabullies.

Most are about the size of an index finger and all lack a swim bladder. They are territorial, spending their entire lives within a small patch of reef.

All 26 species residing here in Tikapa Moana o Hauraki are endemic, and are thus no less iconic than our distinctive birds, reptiles and insects.

Most triplefins remain glued to the ocean floor, propped on their ventral fins, feeding on tiny crustaceans like copepods, sandhoppers and crabs, but also snails, brittle-stars, fish eggs and worms. Prey is generally ambushed and gulped down whole. Great white shark aside, is there any other way?

After spawning, males of all species guard and actively fan the nest of eggs until every last one has hatched. Most adult blennies sport an underwhelming cryptic colouration, though there are some dandies out there. The blue-eyed (boy), for instance: he with the seductive iridescent eyes, Mohawk front dorsal, and a row of red banded tats on a buffed white body.

Another is the oblique-swimming triplefin, a black-eyed beauty, with flashy yellow body dashed with a thick longitudinal black stripe. This free thinker/swimmer can be encountered in hundreds-strong schools, facing into the current and holding station to feed on free-drifting planktonic life forms.

Due entirely to their diminutive size triplefins have not been fished out by commercial and recreational fishers with their arsenals of state-of-the-art weaponry.

Long may these bottom-feeders reign!

Oblique-swimming triplefin Forsterygion maryannae Photo Wikimedia Commons.

Facebook & upgraded website

The Friends of the Hauraki Gulf group has established a Facebook page. Please give us lots of likes.

You can find our website at

Find out more - an invitation

The Friends of the Hauraki Gulf group would welcome any invitations (of course subject to Covid restrictions) to make an illustrated presentation to any interested community groups.

Please visit our new website for detailed information on the ecological values and the background of this proposal.

Please support us!

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

So we can send you a receipt, please provide your email or postal address.

Newsletter editor Alex Stone. Please contact me at
if you would like to contribute to this newsletter.

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Friends of the Hauraki Gulf · 21 Tetley Road · Surfdale · Waiheke Island, Auckland 1081 · New Zealand