On Friday I released a new State of our Gulf assessment, our latest snapshot of the wellbeing of Hauraki Gulf Marine Park.
It runs a ruler across 11 key environmental indicators and highlights the significant challenges we face. It measures how well we are doing in response to these now well-known issues.
The answer is not well enough: our appetite for growth, resources and development is outstripping willingness to integrate management and invest in infrastructure that appropriately protects and enhances environmental quality.
The report bookends a parallel enquiry into how we might respond to the value and wellbeing provided by the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park.
While our 2011 report catalysed investment in Sea Change – Tai Timu Tai Pari, the latest shows how the process created – for the first time – an integrated plan backed by knowledge and commitment from mana whenua and a broad range of stakeholders.
The plan’s recommendations have received scant acknowledgement from central government, while business as usual responses remain bogged down by complexity, inertia, underinvestment and conflicted agendas.
The successes documented in the new State of our Gulf report have come through increased transparency around issues and initiatives led by mana whenua, sector and community groups.
Deputy Chair Liane Ngamane and I set out 10 strategic issues needing political attention in a foreword to the report.
The high expectations of the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park legislation in 2000 are yet to be realised. It’s time to put serious shoulder and new investment behind its intended work.
Chair, Hauraki Gulf Forum
A new report has been published. What has it found?
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I’m pleased a response to the Sea Change Tai Timu Tai Pari marine spatial plan is on the list of priorities for the new Minister of Conservation to consider in her first 30 days, in recently-released Briefings for the Incoming Government.
It is a year since the plan was launched and this is now long overdue.
The idea of an independent advisory group to advise marine ministers on implementation and lead additional consultation is a good one and I look forward to supporting it.
As this issue of the Gulf Journal shows there are exciting things happening around the Gulf.
Dan Hikuroa believes our success in marine spatial planning and protecting Bryde’s whales comes from listening to the voice of the Gulf.
The work of the Revive our Gulf project has reached a new stage, with mussel reefs now being created around Mahurangi harbour.
Elisabeth Easther has been revisiting people and places made familiar by her mother’s television series and book in the 1960s.
And Mary Frankham is catalysing conservation projects and stitching them together from the Gulf to the Waitakere ranges.
Enjoy these stories and a long, hot summer out and about on the Gulf.
– Mayor John Tregidga
The Waikato Regional Council has published a stocktake of information on marine biodiversity in the Waikato region.
The report covers different ecological groups (benthic communities, estuarine and coastal vegetation, fish, birds and marine mammals) and four important subtidal biogenic habitats (rhodolith beds, shellfish beds, seagrass beds and sponge gardens).
It assesses the sensitivity of species and habitats to specific pressures and their significance for biodiversity in the Waikato coastal marine area.
Read it here
The Department of Conservation is publishing report cards to provide a summary of the health of marine reserves.
The first two are for the Cape Rodney to Okakari Point Marine Reserve at Leigh and Tawharanui Marine Reserve. Both show declining numbers of rock lobsters.
A Hauraki Gulf / Tikapa Moana marine spatial plan launched in December after three years work by a stakeholder working group is available on the Sea Change – Tai Timu Tai Pari project website.
The proposed plan contains five pathways designed to create long-term health and wellbeing for the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park. Transitions to high value wild caught and farmed fisheries, the creation of marine reserves areas and scaled up restoration initiatives, setting load limits and mitigation for sediment and nutrients, local-scale coastal management and ambitious public engagement are outlined in the December issue of the Gulf Journal.
Read it here
The Ministry for the Environment and Statistics New Zealand released the first individual “domain” report – on the marine environment – created under the Environmental Reporting Act 2015 in November.
The report identifies key issues facing our oceans, ocean acidification, threats to native birds and marine mammals and the state of coastal habitats.
Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith said environmental reports are fundamental to understanding and addressing environmental challenges – an area where data has been lacking.
He also said next year new legislation would replace the Marine Reserves Act “to bring our marine legislation into the 21st Century, recognising that we need varying levels of protection.”
Read it here
Half the island groups of the Hauraki Gulf are now free of invasive mammals, and success at intercepting hitch-hiking or swimming reinvaders is close to 100%.
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The 2016 Hauraki Gulf Marine Park Seminar asks what it takes to Do The Right Thing
- Can our primary industries reinvent themselves and their relationship with ecosystems?
- What is people-power unleashing around our islands, reefs and harbours?
- How can 600 years of indigenous knowledge and culture inform the way?
- Are fly fishing for kahawai and sailing with whales signs of the times?
- And where might the government fit in all this?
The Hauraki Gulf Forum has assembled an outstanding line-up of speakers for its seventh annual seminar on Tuesday, September 13 at Auckland Museum.
Two ‘friends of the Gulf’ have received knighthoods in the recent Queens Birthday Honours List.
Sir Robert Fenwick was knighted for services to conservation and business and acknowledged for making significant contributions to sustainable development, wildlife protection, waste minimisation, environmental science, Antarctica and iwi over 30 years. Sir Rob also vested family land on Waiheke Island into the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park in 2002.
Sir Christopher Mace received his knighthood for services to science and education. He has been chairman of the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research since 2009 and is currently chairman of the Sir Peter Blake Trust Awards selection panel. Sir Chris has been a long time champion for research and education investments in the Hauraki Gulf.
Groups have until 1 July to apply to a multi-million dollar fund set aside to support community conservation.
The DOC Community Fund was set up in 2014 to distribute $26 million over four years to inspire and enable community-led conservation projects around New Zealand.
Read more here
Great Barrier Island Aotea Track has re-opened. The three-to-four track was extensively damaged by a storm in June 2014. The repairs to five bridges and 13 temporarily re-routed sections cost $353,000.
Read more here
The purchase of the 83ha Glenfern Sanctuary on Great Barrier, created in 1992 by Tony Bouzaid, was announced in June. It was enabled through a combined $1.25 million by Auckland Council and the Great Barrier Local Board. The Minister of Conservation, through the Nature Heritage Fund, will contribute $975,000 and Foundation North $675,000.
Auckland Mayor Len Brown said “we will care for Glenfern and continue to contribute to the conservation of the Kotuku Peninsula with pride.” Great Barrier Local Board Chair Izzy Fordham said the sanctuary creates opportunities for conservation, education and economic outcomes for the island and the Hauraki Gulf.
The sanctuary and two adjoining properties are enclosed by a 2km pest proof fence. Auckland Council will own the new park, with governance details still to be finalised.
Read more here
The Auditor-General has released a report identifying principles for effective co-governing of natural resources.
It includes case studies of how co-governance – involving iwi, central and local government and community groups – has assisted six environmental projects to achieve their goals.
Auditor-General’s overview of principles for effectively co-governing natural resources.
A review of coastal navigation safety by Maritime NZ has found that there is a sound framework in place to manage the movement of ships around the New Zealand coast, with procedures in place to assess risk and adjust safety measures if required.
The report singled out two areas of possibly higher risk for vessels transits compared to other locations – the Hauraki Gulf and Colville Channel, and Cook Strait.
“This review does not indicate an immediate risk to vessels or water users in these areas, but we will be working with harbourmasters, pilots, ferry operators, and the coastal shipping industry to look at how risks are managed in these areas, and whether there are any gaps,” Maritime NZ said.
Coastal Navigation Safety Review Report
The submission period on the Government’s proposed new approach to marine protection closed this month.
A consultation document outlines four new forms of protected areas – marine reserves, species-specific sanctuaries, seabed reserves, and recreational fishing parks – to replace the Marine Reserves Act 1971 and proposes a recreational fishing park in the inner Hauraki Gulf.
The Hauraki Gulf Forum recognises a new approach is needed and sees potential in application of the new categories in the Hauraki Gulf/ Tikapa Moana.
Its advocacy for the Sea Change Tai Timu Tai Pari marine spatial planning process is also consistent with the approach’s emphasis on collaborative process.
Chairman John Tregidga said a carefully integrated package of measures was needed to address the issues of decline identified through recent State of our Gulf assessments and to resolve protection and utilisation needs.
MFE: Marine Protected Areas
A refreshed process for Sea Change – Tai Timu Tai Pari was announced in September, with the final Hauraki Gulf / Tīkapa Moana Marine Spatial Plan now to be delivered in 2016.
New leadership was confirmed with Paul Beverley appointed as Independent Chair of the Stakeholder Working Group and Nigel Bradley confirmed as Lead Plan Writer.
Project Steering Group co-chair Councillor Penny Webster said extra time and breathing space for important discussions was required as the identified topics are complex and wide-ranging.
The Stakeholder Working Group reconvened their work in October and will continue to meet monthly to work through the issues and options identified through roundtable discussions with stakeholders.
Two important conservation milestones were announced on Great Barrier Island/ Aotea during the National Party’s Bluegreens Forum held in Tryphena in April.
The Aotea Conservation Park was opened, formally protecting 12,000ha or more than 40% of the island for future generations.
Conservation Minister Maggie Barry also announced a planned acquisition of Glenfern Sanctuary on the Kotuku Peninsula—legacy of the late Tony Bouzaid—in a partnership between DOC and Auckland Council.
Securing Glenfern Sanctuary’s Future