Marine reserves of New Zealand

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New Zealand has 37[1] marine reserves spread around the North, the South Island, and neighbouring islands, and on outlying island groups. They are governed by the Marine Reserves Act 1971 and administered by the Department of Conservation with assistance from the Ministry of Fisheries, New Zealand Customs and the New Zealand Defence Forces.[2]


The Marine Reserves Act was passed by the Parliament of New Zealand in 1971. In 2000 the Department of Conservation started a review of the Act resulting in a draft Marine Reserves Bill that was introduced into Parliament in June 2002, but has not yet been voted on.[3]

The first marine reserve to be created was the Cape Rodney-Okakari Point Marine Reserve.[4] The Poor Knights Islands Marine Reserve was established next, although with only a partial ban on fishing; a full ban was implemented in 1998. The first two marine reserves in Fiordland were established at the request of New Zealand Federation of Commercial Fishermen in 1993.[5] An additional eight reserves were established in Fiordland on the recommendation of the Guardians of Fiordland in 2005.[6] The Whangarei Harbour Marine Reserve was established in 2006 with the active support of the students and faculty of nearby Kamo High School.[5][7]


The abundance of fish within the reserves creates spillover, or larval export, that boosts catches in neighbouring areas.[5] In general, the reserves tend to attract a lot of recreational divers and fishermen. The divers are attracted to the abundant fish, coral, etc. inside the reserves. The fishermen are attracted to the areas just outside the reserves – where spillover creates an abundance of large game fish not found in other areas.

The Cape Rodney-Okakari Point Marine Reserve, in particular, receives more than 200,000 visitors per year. It is a popular spot for snorkelers and scuba-divers, due to the abundance and diversity of fish now living within the reserve after over 30 years of protection.[2] Species that can be found in the reserve include Australasian snapper and New Zealand sea urchin (kina).[5]

List of reserves[edit]

List of marine reserves in New Zealand
Name Area (ha) Date created
Akaroa Marine Reserve 475 2013
Antipodes Island / Moutere Mahue Marine Reserve[8] 217,000[9] 2014
Auckland Islands Marine Reserve 498,000 2003
Bounty Islands / Moutere Hauriri Marine Reserve[8] 105,000[9] 2014
Campbell Island / Moutere Ihupuku Marine Reserve[8] 113,000[9] 2014
Cape Rodney-Okakari Point Marine Reserve (Goat Island) 518 1975
Hawea Marine Reserve (Clio Rocks) 411 2005
Hautai Marine Reserve[a] 847 2013
Horoirangi Marine Reserve 904 2006
Kahukura Marine Reserve (Gold Arm) 464 2005
Kahurangi Marine Reserve[a] 8,466 2013
Kapiti Marine Reserve 2,167 1992
Kermadec Islands Marine Reserve 748,000 1990
Kutu Parera Marine Reserve 433 2005
Long Bay-Okura Marine Reserve 980 1995
Long Island-Kokomohua Marine Reserve 619 1993
Mayor Island Marine Reserve (Tuhua) 1,060 1992
Moana Uta Marine Reserve 2,007 2005
Motu Manawa (Pollen Island) Marine Reserve 500 1995
Parininihi Marine Reserve 1,800 2006
Piopiotahi Marine Reserve (Milford Sound) 690 1993
Pōhatu Marine Reserve (Flea Bay) 215 1999
Poor Knights Islands Marine Reserve 2,400 1981
Punakaiki Marine Reserve[a] 3,558 2013
Taipari Roa Marine Reserve 613 2005
Tapuae Marine Reserve 1,404 2008
Taputeranga Marine Reserve 854 2008
Taumoana Marine Reserve 1,466 2005
Te Angiangi Marine Reserve 446 1997
Te Awaatu Channel Marine Reserve (The Gut) 93 1993
Te Hapua Marine Reserve 449 2005
Te Matuku Bay Marine Reserve 690 2003
Te Paepae o Aotea Marine Reserve 1,267 2006
Te Tapuwae O Hua Marine Reserve 3,672 2005
Te Tapuwae O Rongokako Marine Reserve 2,452 1999
Whanganui A Hei Marine Reserve (Cathedral Cove) 840 1993
Tauparikākā Marine Reserve[a] 16 2013
Tonga Island Marine Reserve 1,835 1993
Ulva Island/Te Wharawhara Marine Reserve 1,075 2004
Waiau Glacier Coast Marine Reserve[a] 4,641 2013
Westhaven Marine Reserve (Te Tai Tapu) 536 1994
Whangarei Harbour Marine Reserve 254 2006
Note: [a] The five new marine reserves announced for the West Coast are yet to be gazetted.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "New marine reserves set up in subantarctic". Retrieved 2 March 2014. 
  2. ^ a b Enderby, Jenny & Tony (2006). A guide to New Zealand's marine reserves. NZ: New Holland Publishers. ISBN 978-1-86966-114-4. 
  3. ^ "Review of the Marine Reserves Act 1971". Department of Conservation. May 2001. Retrieved 17 December 2012. 
  4. ^ Department of Conservation – Marine reserves A–Z
  5. ^ a b c d Warne, Kennedy. Blue Haven: New Zealand marine reserves are a model for the world National Geographic Magazine April 2007.
  6. ^ New Zealand Department of Conservation (DOC). "Hawea (Clio Rocks): Fiordland marine reserves". Retrieved 17 December 2012. 
  7. ^ Lynch, Brigid (19 October 2006). "Marine reserve created by young enthusiasm". New Zealand Herald. ISSN 1170-0777. Retrieved 28 August 2011. 
  8. ^ a b c "Subantarctic Islands Marine Reserves Bill 2011 (2013 No 310-2)". New Zealand Parliament. Retrieved 2 March 2014. 
  9. ^ a b c "Subantarctic Islands Marine Reserves Bill". New Zealand Parliamentary Counsel Office. Retrieved 2 March 2014. 

External links[edit]