Index to marine reserves of NZ
By Dr J Floor Anthoni

Marine reserves overviewSince their first concept in 1975, and the establishment of the first marine reserve at Leigh, many others followed. Some are voluntary, others managed by the Minister of Fisheries, but most are now managed by the Department of Conservation. In this Marine Reserves section of the Seafriends web site, you will find detailed information of each, complete with photos and  maps, how to get there, and an assessment of the underwater environment. For other details, visit the Department of Conservation's web site, or its overview map with links. On this overview map each of our marine reserves has been indicated by a red dot and a short name, which is often not its official name. Consult the table below for a quick overview by date of establishment, and click on the link for more detail. The first column gives a short key name, coresponding with the overview map. The description column gives the reserve's full and official name and environment type. Underneath the year of establishment, one finds an abbreviation of who manages it. Then follows a column with the extent of the area in square kilometres (1km2=100 ha). Finally we have added a quality assessment column, which is entirely our own. It shows the state of its marine environment. Unfortunately, many of our marine reserves are stressed or degrading rapidly. For more on resource management, biodiversity, principles of conservation and marine reserves, visit our conservation section. Here you will also find more about why reserves can fail, and how to asses marine environmental quality.
The locations are arranged from north to south. Because of their uniqueness, the Kermadec Islands have already received extensive coverage. The Goat Island marine reserve in Leigh, being the first, has also been documented extensively. Read it to learn more about the habitat zoning of the exposed reef in New Zealand.

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Year [1] km2[2] Q[3]
Kermadec Islands marine reserve. Subtropical rocky shore, oasis, surrounded by a large 'empty' ocean. A large section has been devoted to this jewel in the crown of NZ's marine reserves (~80 pages). 1990,DoC
North Cape
North Cape (Piwhane-Spirits Bay) no-fishing zone to protect the benthic fauna to 50m deep. No coast; sandy bottom with rock flats in very strong currents and turbulence. 1999,MfE
The wreck of the Rainbow Warrior is a voluntary marine reserve. Sheltered wreck. 1987, Vol
The Mimiwhangata Marine Park. Exposed rocky shore promontory. See new proposal. 1983,MoF  20 3
The Poor Knights Islands marine reserve. Rocky shore, oasis, islands. 1981,DoC
The Cape Rodney to Okakari Point marine reserve. Goat Island. Exposed rocky shore with shelter and caves. 1975,DoC
The Tawharanui Marine Park. Exposed rocky shore promontory. No shelter, no caves, shallow sand. Proposed status change. 1981,MoF 3.5 3
Long Bay
Long Bay marine reserve, North Auckland. Sheltered rocky shore, estuary and beach. 1997,DoC
A sheltered harbour at the south-eastern end of Waiheke Island, near Auckland. Sheltered inlet, muddy-sandy bottom. 2003,DoC
Pollen Island
Pollen Island (Motu Manawa) marine reserve, West Auckland. Estuarine mudflats. 1997,DoC
Whanganui A Hei marine reserve. (Cathedral Cove). Exposed to semi exposed rocky shore, small beach. 1992,DoC
Mayor Island
Tuhua marine reserve (Mayor Island). Exposed rocky shore. Small part of island. 1992,DoC
Te Tapuwae
Te Tapuwae o Rongokako (Gisborne) Marine Reserve, 16km north of Gisborne. Exposed rocky shore. 1999,DoC
Te Angiangi marine reserve. East coast of central Hawkes Bay near Napier. Exposed rocky shore. 1997,DoC
Sugarloaf Island Marine Protected Area (SLIMPA) near New Plymouth. Exposed rocky pinnacles. 1991,Own 8.0
Kapiti Island marine reserve. Rocky shore. Part island, part beach 1992,DoC
The exposed rocky shore south of Wellington: Owhiro, Island, Princess and Houghton Bays.  2008,F&B
Long Island
Long Island (Kokomohua) marine reserve, Queen Charlotte Sound. Shelterd rocky shore and sand flats. 1993,DoC
Glenduan to Ataata Point marine Reserve. Semi-exposed rocky shore, shallow sandy/muddy bottom. proposed
Tonga Island
Abel Tasman National Park. Semi-exposed rocky shore, sandy beaches, shallow water. 1993,DoC
Westhaven (Te Tai Tapu) marine reserve. North-west coast. Estuary. 1994,DoC
The Kaikoura Marine Reserve. Exposed rocky outcrops of the Kaikoura Peninsula proposed
Banks Peninsula
Banks Peninsula Marine Mammals Sanctuary. To protect Hector's Dolphins.
Akaroa Hr, Banks Peninsula, South Island. Exposed rocky shore, inlet. Protects nesting penguins 1999,DoC
Milford Sound
Milford sound (Piopiotahi) marine reserve. Sheltered deepwater fiord rocky shore. 1993,DoC
Fiordland fisheries management areas with protected sites. Sheltered fiord habitat. 2003,GoF
The Gut
Te Awaatu Channel marine reserve (Dusky Sound). Sheltered fiord rocky shore, shallow. 1993,DoC
Nugget Point
An exposed promontory and pinnacle group between Balclutha and the Catlins. Exposed rocky shore. Proposed 1992. DoC
Stewart Island
Patersons Inlet -
Auckland Island
Auckland Islands Marine Mammals Sanctuary + Motu Maha marine reserve protects the entire underwater environment down to 3000m. Part of the Subantarctic World Heritage Area. 2003,DoC
  Other proposed marine reserves (see the war for marine reserves for updated information)  
Volkner Rocks
Very exposed remote pinnacle group near White Island. applied
Tiritiri Matangi
Semi-exposed island, deep mud flats, sheltered promontory. proposed
Arid Island
North-East Great Barrier Island. Exposed to semi-sheltered rocky shore, sand flats, small estuary and beach. cancelled
Status change from Marine Park to Marine Reserve, and extension. Exposed rocky shore with beaches and sand flats. proposed -
The Mid-Gulf Marine Reserve, around Mahurangi Harbour. Semi-exposed to sheltered rocky shore, sandy-muddy bottom. proposed
Whangarei Hr
Two sites protecting 2.2% of Whangarei Harbour. Sheltered sand and mudflats with current channels. Proposed by Kamo School, accepted by DoC in Dec 2004. 2004, DoC
Marine reserve investigations (see the war for marine reserves)
Whangarei Harbour, Three Kings Islands, Taronui Whangaroa Hr, Bay of Islands, Cape Brett, Motu Kararo I Whangarei Heads, Auckland West Coast, Firth of Thames, Whangara, Pukerua Bay, Pauatahanui Inlet, Parininihi, French Pass, Paparoa South I West Coast, Moeraki West Coast, Jackson Head West Coast, Inner fiords and sounds.
[1] DoC= Department of Conservation; MoF= Minister of Fisheries; MfE= Minister for the Environment; F&B Forest & Bird Society, Sch= school proporal; Vol=voluntary; Own= own local act; GoF= Guardians of Fiordland. Proposed= the discussion stage. Applied= a formal application has been filed.
[2] surface area in km2: 1 km2 (square kilometre) = 100 ha (hectares) = 247 acres
[3] Quality rating: 1= seriously degraded, no hope; 2= degraded while degrading further; 3= presently degrading; 4= has a chance of success; 5= successful; [-] not assessed yet or not relevant. Assessment by Floor Anthoni. Scientific data is absent.

Mataitai reserves
Mataitai reserves are managed by a local Maori committee for gathering seafood for traditional purposes such as meetings. Non-Maori may gain similar access by consent of this committee. Fish is not to be used commercially nor privately. Mataitai reserves are managed under the Fisheries Act.
  • Rapaki Bay in Lyttleton harbour:

Further proposals:

Taiapure reserves
Taiapure reserves are areas of considerable historical importance to Maori. They are managed by a local committee in a sustainable way. Both Maori and non-Maori have access, limited only by local decisions. Commercial fishing is at times allowed. Taiapure reserves are managed under the Fisheries Act.

-- home -- back -- Revised: 19990128,20010514,20020710,20021115,20040617,


Protected seamounts in NZ EEZProtected seamounts

In 2001, 19 of the 500 seamounts and sea hills, comprising one fortieth of the EEZ, have been protected under the Fisheries Act. Some may already have been 'destroyed' by trawl nets, while 'stripping' the seabed.
  • Aotea
  • Brothers
  • Cavalli
  • Chastable
  • Diamond Head
  • Gothic
  • Morgue
  • Pinnie
  • Pyre
  • Rumble 111
  • Seamount 140
  • Seamount 148
  • Seamount 328
  • Seamount 358
  • Seamount 375
  • Seamount 401
  • Seamount 447
  • Telecom
Note that the Kermadec Islands are in fact seamounts poking their tops out above water. These islands have been protected by roughly three circles of 22km radius.


Further reading

The publications printed in blue are available for loan from the Seafriends library.

Ayling, A M: Cape Rodney to Okakari Point Marine Survey. 1978. Univ Auckl Marine Lab.
Bay Of Plenty Polytechnic. Contribution to ... Cathedral Cove Marine Res. 1991.
D O C Publications of the Department Of Conservation
  Kaiora Marine Reserve Proposal. 1991. Donoghue, Michael & Annie Wheeler. 
  Save the dolphins.1990.
  New Zealand coastal policy statement. 1994. 
  Chatham Islands: Heritage & Conservation. 1996 Canterbury. 
  Te Tapuwae o Rongokako Marine Reserve Application (Gisborne). June 1998. 
  First international conference on the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary, Oct 94

Forest & Bird publications: Glenduan to Ataata Point (North Nelson) Marine Reserve. (An aplication). March 1999.
Kamo High School: Whangarei Harbour Marine Reserve Proposal. 2002. Kamo High School.
Schiel, David R: Poor Knights Islands Marine Reserve Survey. 1984. Univ Auckl Marine Lab.


What's new

yyyymmdd - Description
20030116 - A large section about the Goat Island marine reserve.
20021115 - A large (80 page) section about the Kermadec Islands. Quality assessment column added. More books.
20020710 - Cosmetic changes.
20010514 - Overview updated
19990128 -  Making a start with this section.