Matuku marine reserve

(preliminary information)


The marine reserve proposed by the Hauraki Islands Branch of Forest and Bird is beginning to flounder for lack of support. We've only had a few submissions in and half of them are negative, NIMBY submissions.
Submissions close on January 26 so if you havenít yet sent one in there is still time. Just a few lines are needed to show your support for a marine reserve in this special area. Submissions close on January 26 so if you havenít yet sent one in there is still time. Just a few lines are needed to show your support for a marine reserve in this special area.

The proposal is at Te Matuku Bay at the south-eastern end of Waiheke Island. The area covered by this application is around 900ha and includes Te Matuku Bay, Pearl Bay and Otakawhe Bay in the east, other bays to the west as far as the south-eastern headland of Awaawaroa Bay, and all the waters out to Passage Rock islet. The eastern and northern coastlines are dominated by protected land reserves administered by ACC, DOC and Forest and Bird. To the west a private landowner who supports the reserve is allowing large areas of the hillside to regenerate to native forest.

Protection of this area as a marine reserve would extend the protected land reserves out through a sequence from saltwater wetlands - salt meadow, saltmarsh and mangrove forest - into a large area of intertidal mudflats, including a shell-spit, out to the deeper water over the flats and holes of the Tamaki Straits, the adjacent bays and Passage Rock islet.

The proposed marine reserve will protect the marine area and ensure the natural ecological sequence from land to sea remains intact. The shell spit provides habitat for numerous species of wading birds; roosting for many, and nesting for some, including the endangered New Zealand dotterel. A marine reserve would increase opportunities for scientific research and education.

Te Matuku is an RAP 1, giving it the highest recommendation for protection by a DOC survey done in 1988, Sites of Ecological Significance: Waiheke Island. It is recognised as a nationally important site.

Submissions can be sent email to:
with a copy to:
Hard copies (if you prefer) can be sent to The Director General of
Conservation, C/- Regional Conservator, Department of Conservation,
Private Bag 68908, Newtown, Auckland and a copy to Northern Regional
Office, Floor 2 Emcom Building, 75 Queen St, PO Box 106-085, Downtown

Marine reserve close to gulf.
The 700ha reserve at Te Matuku Bay on Waiheke Island is Auckland's third.
by Anne Beston, Weekend Herald, 22-23 March, 2003

The country's newest marine reserve is on Auckland's doorstep. Te Matuku Bay marine reserve at Waiheke Island - the first approved in the North Island for four years - is half as big as the popular Goat Island reserve near Leigh. It becomes Auckland's third marine reserve along with Long Bay on the North Shore and Pollen Island in the upper Waitemata Harbour.

Conseration minister Chris Carter, acknowledging that recreational fishers might not wholeheartedly welcome the 700ha reserve said it would boost stocks in surrounding fishing grounds in the inner Hauraki Gulf. He also hoped an increase in marine and bird life would eventually attract divers and visitors, as had happened at Goat Island and Long Bay. Goat Island draws about 200,000 visitors a year, putting the reserve under environmental pressure.

Mr Carter was not concerned that the new reserve has an oyster farm slap-bang in the middle of it. "The small oyster farm will continue," he said.

Te Matuku Bay reserve includes freshwater and saltwater wetlands, mangrove forests, intertidal mudflats that are home to a wide variety of wading birds, and the deep waters of the Waiheke Channel. "Best of all, it is close to New Zealand's largest city," Mr Carter said.

The reserve includes Whites Bay to the west but not Orapiu to the east. it stretches out to Passage Rock in the channel and over to Ponui Island's Kauri Point. It is a relatively remote area of the heavily populated island, about 40 minutes by car from the ferry terminal at Matiatia.

Forest and Bird marine researcher Barry Weeber said the reserve would be New Zealand's sixth-largest and the estuary at Te Matuku Bay was home to banded dotterels, terns, godwits and oystercatchers. He said the reserve would become a good diving spot, although water clarity could not compare with other reserves such as the Poor Knights.

New Zealand has 16 marine reserves, the largest at the Kermadec Islands. The last one created, last year, is at the Auckland Islands in the sub-Antarctic group.