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Friends of the Hauraki Gulf

Year Started: 
Contact Person: 
Tania Lovell
E-mail address: 
Group Members: 
46 Tiri View Road, Palm Beach, Waiheke Island
New Zealand

A Waiheke Island-based community group working toward the establishment of a new marine reserve on the northern coast of the island.

Friends of the Hauraki Gulf is a registered incorporated society.

Membership is free. Please contact us by email if you'd like to join us.




Vision Statement 

1 August 2013

The 2011 State of our Gulf report showed serious ongoing decline in the environmental health of the Hauraki Gulf.  Friends of the Hauraki Gulf, a Waiheke Island based community group, was formed in response to this.

We are working proactively and positively towards (1) improving the biodiversity of the Hauraki Gulf, and (2) enabling living within and around  the Gulf to be sustainable, considerate and inspirational.

Our vision is for a healthy Gulf, rich with marine life, for the enjoyment of everyone, now and in the future. We invite all Waiheke people to join us in working collaboratively towards realising this vision.

There is widespread consensus among scientists and others that a network of marine reserves, covering a range of habitats throughout the Gulf, is the best way to achieve this vision. This network should cover at least 10% of the area of the Gulf.  At present only 0.3% of the Gulf is protected by marine reserves.

As islanders who benefit on a daily basis from living in the Gulf, we would dearly love to have Waiheke play a greater role in this protection. Part of the northern coastline of Waiheke Island is a possible location for a new marine reserve.  We have recently engaged marine scientists to carry out credible studies which will enable us to assess the potential for this. The physical, biological and social studies include: a marine habitat survey of the northern coastline (completed April 2013);  a biological survey of the northern coastline  (independently started in December 2012 and still in progress); a professionally-conducted random survey of the attitudes of Waiheke people towards their uses of the coastal marine environment  (under development),  and a thorough assessment of the social, environmental, economic and cultural effects of a marine reserve, having regard to different possible locations. We expect that the social survey will be followed by focus groups to gain deeper insights into the perspectives of particular stakeholder groups and how their interests can best be accommodated.

The boundaries of a marine reserve can only be reasonably and formally considered once all these studies have been completed, analysed and presented to the community.  Any final decision about an exact location will follow a fair process of community consultation.  Ultimately, this decision will be a community one,  and everyone will be invited to contribute to the process. 

The Friends Group sees the Waiheke northern side marine reserve initiative as a unique opportunity to create an enduring inter-generational gift to the future people of the Island and the Gulf itself. Children who are educated and grow up here, who currently face a future of an increasingly-depleted natural environment, especially, will be advantaged  – as will everyone who enjoys the beautiful marine environment we have chosen to live in. Recreational, customary and commercial fishing outside the reserve will also benefit from this. The Friends Group is not motivated by self-interest nor financial gain in this initiative.

These groups have offered their support for a Waiheke northern side marine reserve.

  • Forest & Bird, National Office, Wellington
  • Hauraki Islands Branch of Forest &  Bird
  • Hauraki Gulf Conservation Trust
  • Hauraki Gulf Forum

We acknowledge that this support is conditional on the process as described above.

We welcome all further offers of support and encourage all Waiheke Islanders to contact us so that we can ensure they are included in the process.




Local Board resolution in Annual Plan about marine protection

In April 2013 the Waiheke Local Board amended its 2013-2014 Annual Plan to include this resolution:


Local board decisions for 2013/2014 Annual Plan

                b)      That the Waiheke Local Board:

            ii)     confirms an updated list of advocacy areas for the Governing Body and council-controlled organisations, for inclusion in the Annual Plan 2013/2014, namely to “Support the creation of a network of marine reserves in the area under the board’s jurisdiction, in particular, an initial marine reserve in the northern side of Waiheke, on condition that a significant level of community support is obtained.”

From Forest & Bird

"Forest & Bird believes the Hauraki Gulf and New Zealand would benefit from the creation of more marine reserves.  Marine reserves are proven to be the most effective way to protect our marine environment, leading to the recovery of fish stocks, improvement in the marine environment and benefits to the local community.  Forest & Bird encourages the community to become involved in the consultation process being run by the Friends of Hauraki Gulf and to have your say on where a second Marine Reserve for Waiheke can be created."
- Andrew Cutler, national president, Forest & Bird

From Hauraki Gulf Forum

[From the minutes of Hauraki Gulf Forum Meeting, 10 June 2013]

8 Update on Marine Reserve and Marine Protection Initiatives.

A presentation was given in support of the item by Lesley Stone and Dan Breen from the friends of Hauraki Gulf Group.

A copy of the presentation has been placed on the official copy of the minutes and can be viewed on the Auckland Council website.

Resolution number HGF/2013/16

MOVED by Cr CE Fletcher, seconded Cr Friar:

That the Hauraki Gulf Forum:

a) receive the report.

b) thank Lesley Stone and Dan Breen for their presentation.

c) support the proposal for a marine reserve on Waiheke’s northern coast and its

consideration within the Hauraki Gulf Marine Spatial Plan.


See online:

Subscribe to our e-newsletter

Here is our latest edtion - February 2014

A history of marine reserves in New Zealand

'Blue haven - New Zealand marine reserves are a model for the world', an article written by Kennedy Warne for the April 2007  National Geographic magazine provides a good historical overview:


Frequently asked questions

Q: If a marine reserve is established on the northern shore of Waiheke, will I still be able to walk my dog on the beach? 

A: Of the 34 marine reserve in New Zealand, there are 8 that could possibly allow dogs on the beaches.

Of these, 7 allow dogs on land directly adjoining the marine reserve.

These marine reserves are:

1. Onerahi section, Whangarei Marine Reserve;

2. Long Bay/Okura Marine Reserve;

Dog walking at Long Bay, one of New zealand's busiest beaches, and adjoining a marine reserve.

3. Te Matuku Marine Reserve, Waiheke (dogs can be walked along the waterfront 'paper road' from Otakawhe Bay, and on the beach at Pearl Bay, but not beyond the point, as NZ dotterels are nesting there);

4. Kapiti Marine Reserve (which comes ashore for 1km between Paraparumu and Waikanae. This area is an estuary with birdlife, so dogs should be kept on leash);

5. Tapuae Marine Reserve (at New Plymouth);

6. Taputerangi Marine Reserve (which includes Owhiro-,  Island- and Houghton Bays. Because of the presence of baby seals there, dogs are prohibited from one side of Island Bay, but allowed on the other beaches);

Here is Roy the Labrador enjoying the beach at Houghton Bay.

7. Westhaven (the landward side of the reserve is an area where DOC allows hunters and their dogs).

From a letter from the Department of Conservation, received 10 September 2013: "If the issue is about dogs I can advise that while the Department has the ability to  develop regulations to control dogs in marine reserves it has not done so over any of the existing marine reserves.  The Department  would only be likely to develop regulations to control dogs if they were causing a problem , for example,  hassling wildlife – and it is likely that if this was the case the council would have already developed bylaws or regulations for that purpose."

- Sarah Bagnall, Management Planning National Advisor, DOC.

So yes, it's highly likely that under existing Auckland Coucil regulations, dog walking on beaches will continue - even if that beach adjoins a marine reserve. The Auckland Council regulations about dog walking can remain unchanged.

Q: Is a marine reserve in front of a residential beach area unprecedented?

A:  No. There are 6 marine reserves in New Zealand in front of residential areas, and many in Australia and around the world.

Q: Will DOC take control of the beaches?

A: "Marine reserves are not required to include the foreshore (any land covered and uncovered by the flow and ebb of the tide at mean spring tides). Marine reserve boundaries do, however, need to be set so they are clear to everyone and practical for enforcement.

"The ownership of areas adjacent to marine reserves is not affected by the marine reserve – the Department does not control lands it does not manage."

- Sarah Bagnall, Management Planning National Advisor, DOC.

The beaches of Waiheke are under the jurisdiction of Auckland Council.

It is possible to set the boundaries of a marine reserve a little way offshore, or at the low water mark.

Q: Will DOC allow commercial concessionaires to operate from Waiheke beaches?

A: "Under current Marine Reserves legislation the Department is not able to issue concessions over marine reserves.

"The Department cannot  issue concessions over land it does not administer."

- Sarah Bagnall, Management Planning National Advisor, DOC.

The beaches of Waiheke are under the jurisdiction of Auckland Council.

Q: Can boats anchor, or be moored in a marine reserve?

Yes, at Taputeranga Marine Reserve, South Wellington, commercial and recreational fishing boats have permanent mooring in the marine reserve at Island Bay (below)

Anchoring of recreational boats is permitted at every marine reserve in New Zealand.

Q: What is the recommended area of marine reserves, relative to unrestricted waters, for the reserves to be effective?

A: Percentage area:

  • For science, education, recreation, 10%
  • For conservation of marine biota, 20%
  • Maximum benefit to fisheries, 30%

Ballantine, B, 2013, 50 years on: lessons from marine reserves in New Zealand and the principles for systems worldwide

Q: How can I find out more about the Waiheke northern side marine reserve initiative?

A: A programme of presentations to community stakeholders is underway. To date these have been:

1. Seaweek community snorkelling days - Enclosure Bay, 4 March 2012, 2 March 2013

2. Waiheke Community Art Gallery - at Blue Spaces exhibition 23 March 2012

3. Hauraki Gulf Islands branch, Forest & Bird - November 2012

4. Hauraki Gulf Conservation Trust - 12 December 2012, 9 April 2013

5. Onetangi Beach Races  - information panels, 24 February 2013

6. Waiheke Local Board - submissions to Annual Plan Process dates, and subsequent meetings dates)

7. Waiheke Community Cinema - at screening of  The woman who swims with killer whales 6 March 2012)

8. Piritahi Marae Committee - 5 March 2013

9. Waiheke Boating Club -  4 March 2013

10. Waiheke Community Art Gallery -  Out of the Bag exhibition 8 March 2013

11. Waiheke Community Cinema - at Henk Hazen talk 8 March 2013, The Last Ocean June 2013

12. Representatives from ATEED - 23 May 2013

13. Waiheke Tourism providers - 30 April 2013

14. Hauraki Gulf Islands branch, Forest & Bird -  AGM 19 May 2013

15. Waiheke Rotary - 27 May 2013

16. Hauraki Gulf Forum -10 June 2013

17. Waiheke Community Cinema - at screening of The Last Ocean 5 July 2013

18. keepourbeaches campaigners - July 2013

19. Fish Free Waiheke, an informal fishing group - 10 July 2013

20. Waiheke High School Sea Sports Academy - 5 August 2013

21. Waiheke Local Board - 15 August 2013

22. Briefing with Nikki Kaye, MP - 21 September 2013

23. Presentation to Waiheke Local Board - December 2014

24. 'Cinema and Sea' evening, (part of Seaweek activities). World premiere of short film of Tilde Sorenson's work at the Awaawaroa Elle Sanctuary, and  Roger Grace presented findings from scuba transect survey - 4 March 2014

25. Community Snorkelling day at Enclosure Bay (part of Seaweek) - 22 March 2014

26. Talking to Palm Beach Progressive Association memebers at beach BBQ  - 13 April 2014

The Friends of Hauraki Gulf group would be happy to present to anyone interested.

Please contact Alex Stone at [email protected] or 021 91 7777

Supported by Hauraki Gulf Conservation Trust, Forest & Bird head office Wellington, Hauraki Islands branch Forest & Bird,
Waiheke Local Board