Friends of the Hauraki Gulf

Marine Reserve Proposal April 2021

After years of research and on the basis of five scientific reports written, the Friends of the Hauraki Gulf,(Inc), has applied to the Director-General of Conservation to begin the formal statutory process to establish a marine reserve off the north west coastline of Waiheke Island. The Friends have also sent our draft application document to both Ngāti Paoa Trusts Boards to initiate consultation.

Read the full proposal here.

Quick 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

  • Located between Matiatia Point (the north head of Matiatia Bay) and Hakaimango (the western head of Oneroa Bay); extends 3km north from Hakaimango;then 4.5km westward to a line 2.1km west of Matiatia, then southward 4.2km, then eastward to Matiatia Point comprising some 2500 ha

  • Is a marine ecological transition zone between the outer and inner Hauraki Gulf

  • 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

  • Important feeding ground for seabirds and marine mammals

  • Ideal habitat for lost taonga species hāpuku, kōura (crayfish), kekeno (seals)

  • 2,500 ha, the largest marine reserve in the Hauraki Gulf

  • Readily accessible for those who wish to study or who just appreciate the marine environment and the natural world,


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

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

Letters in support of the marine reserve proposal to the media, would be greatly appreciated too!


“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
Fifty years on: Lessons from marine reserves in New Zealand and principles for a worldwide network, a paper published in Biological Conservation, August 2014.

“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

In the news

Mike Lee, Chair of the Friends group was interviewed by Gulf News about this. See the Thursday 20 May edition for the whole article by Erin Johnson. Some Q’s & A’s:

Q: Who has seen this proposal (e.g. local board, mana whenua) and what was the feedback?

A: The Director-General, Department of Conservation. The Ngati Paoa Iwi Trust, the Ngati Paoa Trust Board, the Waiheke Local Board. The initial feedback from the Director General Lou Sanson was prompt and very positive, and the draft application now is being processed through DOC’s administration system. The Waiheke Local Board members’ response was also very positive. We notified both Ngāti Paoa boards at the same time as the Director-General with a request to meet with them at their convenience to consult on the draft plan. We have not heard from either Ngāti Paoa board at this stage. I am advised through a board member that both boards are extremely busy with Treaty and legal issues, and I am also aware they may yet prefer to deal directly with the Crown (DOC) as is their right.

Q: Do any other groups or individuals need to see the proposal and give their opinion? If so, who?

A: The proposal is essentially a slightly smaller in size than the original version (PMR1) recommended and accepted by the Waiheke Local Board in October 2017. We have given the Crown and Mana Whenua the courtesy of a clear month to consider the draft application privately. Now working with Gulf News we intend to socialise the proposal as widely as possible, especially within the Waiheke community. We have also contacted affected landowners who have rights under the Marine Reserves Act.

Q: Will there be consultation with the Waiheke community about this proposal and if so, how and when will that occur?

A: Yes. Our first meeting with neighbouring landowners will take place this weekend. There will be many such events after this. Our new website will go live on Thursday coinciding with publication of this week’s Gulf News and letters are ready to go to a very long list of supporters and stakeholders. The Marine Reserves Act has its own formal processes which will be guided by DOC.

Q: What do you hope would be the long-term impact of this marine reserve?

A: The Hakaimango-Matiatia marine reserve over time would become a biological treasure house, a ‘jewel in the crown’ of the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park, enhancing the life-supporting capacity of the marine life protected therein and a source of pride which by its very existence, would enrich the lives and wellbeing of the people of Waiheke, including tangata whenua, and that of the people of the islands of the Gulf, the Auckland region and beyond and future generations.

About Us

A Waiheke Island-based conservation research group working toward the establishment of a network of marine reserves around the coast of the island.

Friends of the Hauraki Gulf is a registered incorporated society.

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