The last few weeks have been something of a watershed for the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park and we’ve seen some excellent media coverage as a result.
At the Hauraki Gulf Forum meeting on 20 May, consistent with its Strategic Issues, the Forum voted to recommend two aspirational long-term goals for the Marine Park. We’ve recommended that at least 20 per cent of the waters be protected, and that restoration efforts establish 1000 km2 of shellfish-beds and reefs, which is about 8 per cent of the Park.
There are many who work in and around the Gulf – tireless in their conservation and restoration efforts. The Forum’s role is to support coordination of these efforts and promote integrated planning across the Gulf. We must be ambitious for the future health of our much-loved moana. These two goals are an important step forward so that we have a vision which the Forum members and others can unify around.
Following the Forum meeting we had front page coverage in the NZ Herald as well as radio. Encouragingly, Minister of Conservation, Eugenie Sage was quoted in the subsequent NZ Herald coverage noting that the Ministerial Advisory Group that’s being set up will take those big goals into account as it looks to provide advice to government on the implementation of Sea Change – Tai Timu Tai Pari. Minister Sage further noted that both she and Fisheries Minister Stuart Nash are “absolutely committed to restoring the health of the Gulf.”
Deputy Chairperson, Moana Tamaariki-Pohe, the Forum’s Executive Officer, Alex Rogers and I continue to spend a lot of our time meeting with people and organisations involved in improving the Gulf and its many islands. We have been and learning about their excellent work. You can read what we’ve been up to in my report to the Forum. We had the opportunity last month to travel to Great Barrier Island/Aotea and meet some of the custodians of the Windy Hill Sanctuary. I’m pleased that we’ve been able to profile some of their 20 year achievements in this edition of the Gulf Journal.
Planning is underway for our annual Conference. This year, we’ll focus on how, collectively, we can take action to progress the two big goals and other actions needed for betterment of Tīkapa Moana. We hope that you can join us on 27 August at the Auckland War Memorial Museum for what we plan to make a genuinely interactive programme.