Category Archives: Hauraki Gulf Marine Park

Seachange Tai Timu Tai Pari Launched

The first marine spatial plan for New Zealand, which applies to the Hauraki Gulf was launched last night at an event in Auckland. The plan has been developed by a collaborative stakeholder working group, representing key interests, and provides a roadmap for restoring the Gulf to a healthy, abundant and productive marine area.

At the heart of the plan is the need to restore healthy habitats and water quality to support abundant marine life including fisheries as well as taonga, such as seabirds and marine mammals. The plan includes several initiatives to achieve this, including:

  • Transitioning trawling, dredging and Danish seining out of the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park. These fishing methods can cause additional damage to seabed habitats, they remobilise sediment, and they prevent recovery from historic loss.
  • Setting catchment-based sediment and nutrient limits and deploying a range of tools to modify land use and re-engineer natural systems so that they can be met.
  • Removing harvest pressure from some areas through the establishment of Type 1 MPAs and seabed-damaging activities from additional areas through Type 2 MPAs.
  • Scaling up efforts to actively restore marine habitats including through shellfish and seaweed restoration, habitat creation and the like.

The plan also supports increased abundance of marine life through a series of actions such as reviewing harvest levels of priority species, protecting vulnerable species from over-harvesting, decreasing mortality of under-sized fish, reducing pressures on threatened species and addressing marine biosecurity risks.

The plan provides support for marine-related industries including Aquaculture, through the provision of suitable marine space for growth; Commercial Fishing, through support for a high value, low impact industry; and Tourism and Recreation, through improved abundance, access, place-based management and visitor strategies. In particular, the plan supports Recreational Fishing through increasing the abundance and local availability of fish.

In addition, the plan seeks to inspire local communities through engaging hearts and minds, embracing volunteering and expanding marine education.

Underpinning the plan is the need for strengthened management and governance arrangements. These include the establishment of:

  • Ahu Moana local management areas, jointly managed by mana whenua and local communities.
  • Fisheries Management Area for the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park and a Multi-stakeholder Fisheries Advisory Group to provide recommendations directly to the Minister.
  • A new overarching Governance Entity that embraces co-governance and will champion the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park and the implementation of the plan.

Further details on the plan can be found here.

Hauraki Gulf’s special whales

A group of Bryde’s whales have chosen the Hauraki Gulf as a place to live all year round and as somewhere to bring up their calves. This is unusual for a whale species, as most migrate from the tropics to the polar regions each year. We are very lucky to have a population of whales right on Auckland’s doorstep and we need to look after them.

View this fantastic drone video of the Bryde’s whales in the Gulf taken by AUT scientists.

Bryde’s whales are small baleen whales that can often be seen feeding amongst seabirds and dolphins in large ‘boil ups’ of fish in the Hauraki Gulf. The population is considered to be threatened, being listed by the Department of Conservation as “nationally critical”.

The whales used to be hunted, with 19 animals being taken at the whaling station at Whangaparapara, Great Barrier Island during the 1960s. However, Bryde’s whales do not produce much oil so they were not targeted in the same way that humpback whales were.

Old Whangaparapara Whaling Station
19 Bryde’s whales were taken at the Whangaparapara whaling station on Great Barrier Island during the 1960s. The remains of the old whaling station, shown here, can still be seen in the harbour.

The biggest risk the whales now face is being hit by the large ships that transit the Gulf to enter the Port of Auckland. The shipping lanes cut right across the areas where the whales spend much of their time, and if they are hit by the large hulls travelling at high speed, the whales have little chance of surviving. A total of 18 whales are known to have died from ship strike in the Hauraki Gulf since 1996.

Container ship leaving the Port of Auckland
Large ships are a risk to whales if they travel at fast speeds transiting through the Hauraki Gulf. If the ships slow down to 10 knots or less that risk is significantly reduced.

Responding to this issue, in 2013, Ports of Auckland issued a voluntary protocol that advised ships to reduce speed, where possible, when transiting through the Gulf. At speeds of 10 knots or less there is a much higher chance that the whales will survive a collision. Since the release of the protocol, speeds have been reducing and are now on average less than 11 knots. There has only been one recorded whale death from ship strike, on 12 September 2014, since the protocol was put in place.

Bryde's whale Transit Protocol page 1 Bryde's whale Transit Protocol page 2

Hauraki Gulf book in Best Books of 2016

The Story of the Hauraki Gulf features in the Listener’s Best 100 Books of 2016 and in the New Zealand Herald’s Best Books of 2016.

“It’s big, beautifully illustrated, packed with information about pretty much every aspect of the gulf, from the early Polynesian navigators who first found it to the environmental activists involved in repairing the damage done by centuries of settlement, and perhaps best of all it is full of personal stories about the individuals involved in its multi-faceted history. This is a book that, like the gulf itself, is surely destined to endure.” Jim Eagles, NZ Herald. Read full review.

“With its lovely maps and photos and prose as clear as glass, the book just kept opening up. This is a wonderful book.”  Geoff Chapple, NZ Listener. Read full review.

“This is a beautiful tribute to a stunning part of New Zealand, and one that we should all have on our shelves.” Boat Books

Story of the Hauraki Gulf 2016 cover
Cover of forthcoming book ‘The Story of the Hauraki Gulf’ showing (top) Tiritiri Matangi wharf, (left) Bean Rock Lighthouse and (right) Classic yachts Ngatira (B2) and Waitangi (A6) racing in the Waitemata Harbour.

The Story of the Hauraki Gulf is a social, cultural and environmental celebration of an extraordinary place. It brings together the many fascinating strands of history to provide a rich insight into the Gulf today and its possible future.

“I hope that the stories in this book will prompt readers to recall their own species stories of the Hauraki Gulf, and of other treasured locations. Because it is only if we remember our stories, if we tell our stories and if we act on them that we can ensure that out special places will endure.”

THE BOOK HAS A LIMITED PRINT RUN. MAKE SURE YOU DON’T MISS OUT. CLICK HERE TO ORDER YOUR COPY NOW

The book, authored by Raewyn Peart from the Environmental Defence Society and published by David Bateman Ltd, is printed in high quality coffee table format with over 300 historic and contemporary images. The wonderful photos of the Hauraki Gulf highlight what an extraordinary place it is.

Classic Yacht Thelma in 2013 Auckland anniversary regatta
Classic yacht Thelma competing in the 2013 Auckland Anniversary Regatta.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hauraki Gulf Marine Park

Hauraki Gulf Marine Park map
Although many people think that the Hauraki Gulf only includes the area between Bream Head and Cape Colville, it is much bigger than this.

The Story of the Hauraki Gulf takes in the entire Hauraki Gulf Marine Park which covers around 1.4 million hectares of marine space and over fifty islands. Some of the larger islands include Great Barrier Island, Great Mercury Island, Little Barrier Island and Waiheke Island.

Great Mercury Island
Great Mercury Island is part of the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park