An area of South Island coast and ocean the size of Auckland is being tagged for protection under a proposal supported by Minister of Fisheries Stuart Nash and Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage. The Ministers have decided to progress a comprehensive marine protection network in the south eastern South Island and will soon consult on the plan which covers 1,267 km2 and includes 18 of the 22 coastal habitats in the Forum area, seven of 12 estuarine habitats and two biogenic habitats. The Department of Conservation and Fisheries NZ plan to release a document for public submissions later this year.
More information about the proposed network can be found on the Department of Conservation’s website here.
The network is somewhat emblematic of what the Hauraki Gulf Forum is seeking to achieve with its recent announcement to recommend that 20 per cent of the Marine Park be protected.
Under current legislation, there are several tools available for marine protection. One such tool is a rāhui, which is a temporary ritual prohibition, designed to preserve the cultural, ecological and physical environment.
On 14th February, Te Whanau ā Rangiwhakaahu Hapū, led by chairman Aperahama Edwards, announced its intention to place a rāhui over the Matapouri Mermaid Pools in Northland, also known as Te Wai O Taniwha. The pools can draw thousands of visitors to the Northland coast every weekend. The iwi has put a rāhui tapu in place due to the damage caused by tourists leaving behind rubbish, urinating and sunscreen.