Auckland iwi Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki has unveiled tourism aspirations which include biking tours and accommodation on Mototapu Island. In mid-January, the iwi signed a conservation relationship agreement with the Department of Conservation, which confirmed their role as mana whenua in influencing policies, looking after the whenua (land) and taonga species, providing visitor information and protecting waahi tapu (sacred sites). They currently hold a concession to conduct commercial tours on both Rangitoto and Motutapu. The agreement was part of last year’s Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki Treaty of Waitangi Settlement.
Last year the Supreme Court heard challenges by the iwi to ferry and tourism concessions granted by DOC. The Court confirmed the iwi as kaitiaki over the motu, with the Court saying that the rohe of Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki extends across Tīkapa Moana/Hauraki Gulf and includes the ancestral motu of Rangitoto, Motutapu, and Motu-a-Ihenga (Motuihe), with which it has deep and long-standing connections.
Sea Change – Tai Timu Tai Pari was the first of its kind in New Zealand – a bold initiative to create a marine spatial plan. The Office of the Auditor General (OAG) decided to see what lessons could be learned from this ambitious undertaking. They looked at how the agencies involved set up the project and prepared the plan, including a focus on the project’s governance arrangements and planning for implementation.
The OAG says that “in many ways, the project was a successful example of a stakeholder-led collaborative approach. It resulted in a completed plan with general support from those who prepared it. However, the plan is not easy for the agencies to implement and those involved in the project are frustrated at the lack of progress in implementing the plan. Our report identifies aspects of the project that if done better would have made implementing the plan easier, including improving stakeholder engagement and better planning for implementation.”
The report can be found here.
The seas around New Zealand in 2018 were the hottest on record. In late January 2019, NIWA scientists published a report showing that water in the New Zealand region is significantly warmer than it was 30 years ago, and all indications are the warming trend will continue. A record-breaking marine heatwave last summer was the key driver of 2018’s hot temperatures, with parts of the Tasman Sea at times as much as 6C higher than average.
The results have been published in the New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research.
The alarming statistic also coincides with NIWA reporting in its Annual Climate Summary that 2018 was the second-equal hottest year on record.
NZ Herald Reporter Michael Neilson reported on some of the stark threats to marine life and New Zealand’s seafood sector in his article here.
Read more about the NIWA report here.
The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has granted Coastal Resources Limited a 35-year marine consent to dispose of 250,000 cubic metres of dredged sediment each year.
The company already has permission to dump 50,000 cubic metres of sediment at the disposal site – known as the Northern Disposal Area, 25 kilometres east of Great Barrier Island.
It applied in June last year to expand its operation.
Coastal Resources Limited dredges material from sites around Auckland and Waikato, including marinas.
The EPA received 76 submissions about the application and the vast majority of them opposed the granting of consent, with opponents including the Great Barrier Local Board and the Department of Conservation.
In its final decision, released 5 February 2019, the EPA’s decision-making committee said that any potential adverse effects on the environment of any disposal would be restricted to the disposal area and were negligible beyond the boundary. Further, any potential adverse effects on existing interests, such as commercial fishing, would also be negligible beyond the boundary.
Coastal Resources Limited will have to carry out regular environmental monitoring of the dumping site and any biosecurity risks will have to be notified to authorities within 48 hours.
More details can be found on the EPA’s website.
Waiheke Island is already possum free, and now plans are underway to see the island become rat and stoat free by 2025. If successful, this could make Waiheke Island the world’s first predator-free urban island. This is no small undertaking for an Island that has a permanent population of about 9000 residents and over a million visitors annually.
Auckland Council, Predator Free 2050 and Foundation North have jointly provided $10.9 million to cover a five to a seven-year programme on the island called Te Korowai Waiheke: Towards Predator Free Waiheke.
To find out more and get involved visit https://www.predatorfreewaiheke.org.nz/
Restoring the health of the Hauraki Gulf is the aim of the Sea Change – Tai Timu Tai Pari plan. It addresses issues such as marine protection, fisheries, habitat restoration, and opportunities for regional economic development.
Last week, the Ministers of Conservation and Fisheries announced their intention to set up a Ministerial Advisory Committee to play a key role in evaluating the marine spatial plan, alongside other interested parties. Both the Department of Conservation and Fisheries New Zealand have major roles to play in the aspirations expressed in the Sea Change Plan.
Proposals in the plan have been developed over four years by a Stakeholder Working Group with representatives from mana whenua, recreational and commercial fishing, farming, aquaculture, infrastructure, and environmentalists. The new Ministerial Advisory Group is due to be formed in early 2019.
Read more here
The Waikato Regional Council recently granted Pare Hauraki Kaimoana authorisation to apply for the consents to occupy 240 hectares of fish-farming space in the Coromandel Marine Farming Zone. Located about 10 kilometres offshore from Coromandel Town, in the Firth of Thames, if successful, this would be the North Island’s first offshore fish farm and would farm kingfish.
The authorisation means the company has two years to prepare and submit an application for the necessary resource consents.
Read more here
Te Mana, te Ihi, te Tapu o Tikapa Moana
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The 12 iwi of the Hauraki region have signed their Collective Treaty Settlement Deed at Parliament
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Waiheke Local Board member John Meeuwsen has been elected the new Chair of the Hauraki Gulf Forum. He becomes the fourth chair in the Forum’s 18-year history, replacing Mayor John Tregidga after a term of 11 years.
John Meeuwsen spoke to Our Auckland about his background, interests and aspirations for the Forum.
Read the interview here
It’s not been plain sailing over summer with water quality causing headaches for surf lifesavers across the city. Auckland Council’s new SafeSwim monitoring network, is much more accurate than the old monitoring system. With some beaches unsafe for swimming for days on end, this saw many surf lifesaving events cancelled.
Surf lifesavers monitor the events, but were refusing to oversee any at beaches deemed unsafe for swimming. Organisers are now concerned these types of events will no longer be viable and put ocean swimming off the cards for many.
Read more here
Divers and recreational fishers are welcoming reduced new limits to cray fish catches in the Bay of Plenty. This followed Minister of Fisheries announcing new limits for commercial, recreational and customary fishing for the Hauraki Gulf and Bay of Plenty. They hope the limits will help crays to rebound and believe the move is needed to preserve the fishery for the future.
Read more here
While they agree with a reduction to the crayfish catch is needed in the Hauraki Gulf and Bay of Plenty, commercial fishers are concerned at the size of the cuts.
Fisheries Minister Stuart Nash has cut the allowable catch from 200 tonnes to 80 tonnes. This will see earnings drop by about 60 percent and see commercial vessels forced off the water, Rock Lobster Industry Council CEO Mark Edwards says.
This follows a grim assessment of the state of the CRA 2 fishery.
Read more here
Increasing the number of visiting cruise ships and targeting passengers is just part of a new tourism strategy for Auckland by Council’s tourism agency ATEED. There are hopes of nearly double the $8 billion coming into the city from tourism by 2025. But rather than massively more tourists, the aim is to attract more higher paying ones, including from conventions and cruise ships. Building the “night-time” economy is a priority as is encouraging local events to attract off-season visitors. There is a focus on “destination management” which concentrates on the quality and sustainability of attractions.
Read more here
Hauraki Gulf leaders are hopeful new Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage will pick up the baton for action in the latest State of the Gulf report and help implement a spatial plan for the park.
A lack of legal teeth, regulatory headaches, slow action and conflict continue to get in the way of meaningful change in the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park according to the recently released 2017 report.
This is the third environment report detailing the ongoing decline of the 1.2 million hectare park. Advocates say conflicts between the Fisheries Act and Resource Management Act need to be sorted out and the collaborative Sea Change Tai Timu Tai Pari spatial plan implemented.
Read more here
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