Friends of the Hauraki Gulf

Where we’re at with the Hakaimango-Matiatia Marine Reserve Proposal
19 June 2021

Read the full proposal here.

Consultation with DOC and Ngāti Paoa

Since our formal proposal for a new marine reserve to the Director-General of the Department of Conservation (DOC) on 23 April, we have been in regular communication with DOC.

DOC has responded positively to the initiative, the Director-General Lou Sanson acknowledged the application on the same day, arranging DOC’s marine protection team to oversee the process. This is the first marine reserve application in the Hauraki Gulf for over 20 years. Which is surprising, given the known, declining and now dire straits of the waters of Tīkapa Moana as evidenced by the State of the Hauraki Gulf reports, published by the Hauraki Gulf Forum.

On Friday, 11 June Mike Lee, the chair of the Friends group, met with the DOC marine protection team in Auckland. The meeting was led by team leader Rebecca Bird. She complimented the Friends on the proposal and advised DOC was appointing a temporary manager to oversee the application.

Mike sought and was given assurances that whatever pending decisions by government regarding SeaChange he was assured the application will be allowed to run its full course. He was also assured the Marine Reserves Act will not be repealed and that its replacement is not under consideration.

Into the next phase of the project we have accepted DOC’s advice to consult widely pre-notification for which we will devote at least the next six weeks before hopefully moving onto formal public notification as per s5 Marine Reserves Act..

Mike advised our application report was forwarded to the two Ngāti Paoa trusts on the same day (23 April) that it was sent to the Director-General. “Our focus on Ngāti Paoa is not just based on best practice but under the recent Treaty settlement the Crown has given Ngāti Paoa a ’Statutory Acknowledgement’ relating to the publicly owned Matietie Historic Reserve. In effect when it comes to RMA consents and other matters (eg marine reserve applications) this gives Ngāti Paoa a status rather like neighbouring land owners under the Marine Reserves Act.” To consult with ‘iwi, hapū and whānau’, the Friends are also meeting with individual tribal kaumatua. Furthermore we have arranged two presentations with the local Piritahi marae.

As for next steps in this regard, DOC has arranged a meeting with their Māori protocol adviser, Pou Tairangahau, Hauauru Rawiri to advise and facilitate further pre-notification engagement with manawhenua.

Pre-notification phase - communication with Waiheke Island locals.

We are now very much focussed on pre-notification consultations.

The Friends of the Hauraki Gulf's PowerPoint presentation to the Local Board on 5 May was well received by the elected members and no doubt this influenced the positive approach the Local Board took to the proposed marine reserve during its formal discussion and resolutions relating tp marine protection around Waiheke on 26 May.

On 23 May we met with neighbouring land owners to hear their views on the proposed marine reserve. Like with many Waiheke communities concerned with ‘over tourism’, northwest residents were concerned about possible visitor impacts, especially on Korora Road. To meet these concerns we have modified our application to remove references that could be interpreted as promoting the proposed reserve as a visitor destination. We will also lobby for a bus ban on Korora Road should the application be approved. Its all about the marine life folks.

The Friends Group would be happy to respond to any invitation to speak about the marine reserve initiative to any interested group on Waiheke Island or Hauraki Gulf locals. Please contact us at the email address below.

Find out more

There’s a display about the marine reserve proposal at the Waiheke Library. You can also talk to a committee member of the Friends group, Sid Marsh at his stall at the Ostend Market every Saturday.

In the news

Kororā little blue penguins have been much in the news lately, due to the construction of the marina at Kennedy Point, and the protests on their behalf.

The proposed Hakaimango-Matiatia Marine Reserve will safeguard, in perpetuity, many hundreds of kororā burrows, right next to 2,500 ha of feeding habitat for them. It’s little-known that the major cause of penguin mortality in the Hauraki Gulf is starvation. (With thanks to Adrien Lambrechts for this photo).

On Sunday 20 June there were two events which may be of interest to supporters of Friends of the Gulf.

Protect Putiki called a public meeting at Ostend Hall to discuss the Kennedy Pt marina works, and the plight of kororā there. This, as promised, was facilitated as a 'peaceful and respectful gathering.' The meeting has already been covered in national media, on the Stuff website and in more detail in the coming issue of Gulf News.

The Waiheke Marine Project also conducted a Zoom seminar, entitled 'Marine Action Showcase.' The Friends group was 'invited to register' for this event, but we felt that in the five-minute speaking time afforded to all participants, we could not do justice to our marine reserve submission. Instead we invited the Marine Group to detailed presentation on our proposal to be held at a time of convenience of the Marine Group’s staff and Steering Committee.

Please also see the latest newsletter from the Noises Trust.

The Friends met with the Noises Trust reps Katina Conomos and marine scientist Dr Tom Trnski at Auckland Museum. We presented them with a copy of our marine reserve application and answered questions. In turn the Katina and Tom briefed us on their work. The two groups have agreed to keep each other informed of our mutual goals of marine protection and restoration in the Hauraki Gulf.

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

Read the full proposal here.

Friends around the Gulf

The Friends Group has members and supporters on Rakino Island, Aotea Great Barrier Island, Auckland - and as far away as Dunedin!

Another reason why we need more marine reserves

With thanks to Shaun Lee for this fine graphic. The sign-off pic at the end of this e-newsletter also shows why big snapper (only big snapper) are valuable.

Quick facts about the Hakaimango-Matiatia Marine Reserve proposal

  • The first new marine reserve proposal in the Hauraki Gulf for 20 years

  • 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,

We need your help!

Please let us know by email if you know of any people who would like to be added to this emailing list.

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.

Specifically, we need around $2,000- to meet our statutory obligations to provide public notices in newspapers. After that, which will happen at the end of July, DOC will take over the formal consultation process for two months. We then get the opportunity to address any concerns raised in this consultation, for another month beyond that.

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, especially Waiheke’s Gulf News would be greatly appreciated too! Please send to


“The difference in living next to Te Matuku Marine Reserve has been a phenomenal improvement.

“We see big fish jumping every day. We see kingfish, stingrays, and at every low tide there are the burrows created in the mud by feeding snapper. We’ve seen a seal come in to the bay. And there are many, many more birds catching fish.”
- Cyril Wright, who has lived on the shore there, at Koha Bay since 1980. (Te Matuku Marine Reserve was only finally ratified in 2005)

“Change is incremental and momentum is building: more and more people do appreciate the wonders of marine reserves, understand their value and talk and show others what treasures you have found…Pimbies (Please In My Back Yard!) may be like me and think ‘how wonderful!’ Otherwise our conversation risks being timid and fearful rather than celebratory and exciting.”
- Janet Hunt, author of Our Big Blue Backyard.

Forest & Bird is strongly supportive of greatly increased protection of marine ecosystems around the island, and urges the [Waiheke Local] Board to take your proposal further.
- Kevin Hague, Forest & Bird Chief Executive Kaiwhakahaere Matua

About Us

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

All our work is based on best-practice science, and always has protection of our sustaining environment foremost.

Friends of the Hauraki Gulf is a registered incorporated society.

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