Category Archives: Port development

Loss of seagrass

The Waitematā harbour was once host to enormous seagrass  (Zostera) beds which played a crucial role in providing habitat for juvenile fish. However the extensive harbour works, including port development and reclamations, had considerably reduced the seagrass beds by the 1930s. Then the remaining areas were virtually wiped out during the 1940s by an outbreak of fungal slime.

Waitemata harbour bridge
Port and waterfront development in the Waitematā harbour has contributed to the loss of extensive seagrass beds in the area.

The Tāmaki Strait was also an area with hosted seagrass beds. The steam trawler Doto, chartered by the government to do exploratory trawling in the Hauraki Gulf during 1901, found a net they hauled up after trawling along the Tāmaki Strait full of ‘grass and weeds’, indicating the extensive seagrass beds in the area.

Tamaki Strait looking from Waitawa Regeional Park
There is evidence that in 1901 there were extensive seagrass beds in the Tāmaki Strait, shown here from Waitawa Regional Park.

A major cause of seagrass loss is sediment from land development washing into the sea. When the health of a harbour or estuary deteriorates, seagrass is one of the first things to be lost. And with the seagrass beds goes part of the ability of the marine system to produce fish.

“If the sub tidal seagrass is lost, then juvenile fish production goes with it. It has a cascade effect.”

One of the few places with remaining seagrass beds in the Gulf is Huruhi Harbour at Great Mercury Island.

Huruhi Harbour, Great Mercury Island
One of the few places sub tidal seagrass beds can now be seen in the Hauraki Gulf is at Great Mercury Island.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Development of Auckland Port

The development of port infrastructure on Auckland’s waterfront has been underway since 1851. The shores in front of the CBD were initially very tidal and this made loading and unloading cargo difficult.

Container ship unloading at the Auckland port
The Auckland port is located on reclamations extending out into the Waitemata harbour. Shown here is a ship unloading at the container terminal.

By 1859 work had start reclaiming Commercial Bay in an ongoing process of reclamation which is still going today. A list of the reclamations, their dates of construction and sizes is shown below.

Flotilla of boats protesting aginst port expansion
A flotilla of boats took to the water to protest against continued port expansion into the Waitemata Harbour in March 2015.

More recently proposals for ongoing port development into the Waitemata Harbour by Ports of Auckland have prompted protests and an investigation into other options by the Port Future Study. Options canvassed include constraining the port to its current footprint, allowing further growth or potentially moving the port to the Manuaku harbour, Firth of Thames or Muriwai.

Steinlager 2 in Port Protest
‘Steinlager 2’ joined the protest against further expansion of the Auckland port into the harbour.

 

Reclamations in Downtown Auckland

Date Place Size (hectares)
1859 Commercial Bay between Fort St and Customs St 3.6
1872-79 Official Bay 7.5
1973-74 Hardinge St to Patterson St 1.5
1975-77 Queen St to Albert St 3.2
1875-77 Nelson St to Hardinge St 2.2
1876-77 Albert St to Nelson St 4.7
1878-79 Graving dock site at bottom of Hobson St 0.4
1879 – 86 Queen St to Britomart Pt (railway station) 7.6
1884-86 Cool store and power station site 2.7
1885-86 Freemans Bay 1.2
1886 Freemans Bay 2.5
1886-1901 Freemans Bay Victoria Park 9.5
1901-10 Mechanics Bay 6.8
1902-08 Hobson St 1.5
1904 St Georges Bay 0.9
1905-07 Freeman’s Bay 28.0
190910 Northern wharf and approaches 1.4
1911-12 St Georges Bay 0.8
1912-15 Mechanics Bay 13.1
1913-14 Fanshawe St 0.4
1913-14 Hobson St city Markets 1.7
1915 Graving dock site 0.4
1915-16 St Georges Bay 9.7
1916-19 East of power station 2.9
1919-23 Eastern reclamation No 1 7.0
1924 Princes wharf approaches 1.0
1924-26 Eastern reclamation No 2 5.9
1926-28 Western reclamation 9.5
1928 Eastern vehicular landing 0.2
1929-31 Eastern viaduct 0.6
1937-38 Westhaven 4.0
1938 Viaduct basin Nelson St 0.5
1937-45 Bledisloe wharf approach 1.4
1937-46 East of Kings wharf 1.4
1940-46 Western viaduct basin, Pakenham St 2.0
1951-54 Jellicoe wharf approach 1.0
1952-55 Eastern reclamation 4.6
1952-57 Harbour bridge reclamation 7.1
1958-60 Base of Freyberg wharf 2.4
1963-65 Viaduct basin 1.4
1967-70 Fergusson wharf 7.7
1969 – 73 Solent St 4.0
1970 – 75 Kings Bledisloe 8.5
1980 – 83 Bledisloe Stage 2 8.5
1989 – 90 Fishermans Wharf (Viaduct Basin) 0.2
2000 – 05 Fergusson Extension Stage 1 6.6
2005 – Fergusson Extension Stage 2 (ongoing) 3.3