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Ambitious goals for ailing Hauraki Gulf

Published: 26 May 2020

The Hauraki Gulf Forum yesterday adopted an updated set of ambitious goals for the Gulf:

  1. At least 30 per cent marine protection (*up from the 20 per cent goal established in 2019)
  2. 1000sqkm of shellfish-bed and reef restoration
  3. Riparian planting of the Gulf’s catchment (new goal)
  4. An end to marine dumping in or near to the Gulf (new goal).

“Science shows that we need to protect at least 30 per cent of our moana in a way that respects biodiversity and habitats,” says Co-chair Pippa Coom.

“For the Hauraki Gulf, this can be achieved through a variety of protection mechanisms, including indigenous and regulatory tools. The key point from the 2020 State of our Gulf report is we need much more protection, and we need it fast.”

“We also need to stop the archaic practice of marine dumping,” says Co-chair Nicola MacDonald (Ngāti Rehua, Patuharakeke, Te Whanau Whero and Te Ākitai (hāpu of Ngāti Wai), and Te Rarawa and Taranaki iwi).

“The ocean is not our rubbish bin. There is nothing that we are dumping at sea that we cannot dispose of on land.”

The Forum’s four big goals are reflected in the Forum’s 2020-2022 Work Plan adopted this week. The new two goals – supporting riparian planting and ending marine dumping – will now undergo stocktakes to enable the Forum to set key actions against those new goals.

Also adopted this week were (i) a new Governance Statement reflecting the Forum’s recent move to a co-governance leadership model, and (ii) a 2020-2021 budget which delivers total savings to members of around 25 per cent for the year ahead – reflecting the difficult financial situation as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

What is the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park?

The Hauraki Gulf Marine Park is New Zealand’s first marine park. It’s a big park, stretching from Te Arai in the north to Waihi in the south.

At 1.2 million hectares, or 20 times the size of Lake Taupō, it includes the Waitematā Harbour, Gulf Islands, Firth of Thames and the east coast of the Coromandel Peninsula.

The Park was established by special legislation in February 2000. This year marks its 20th anniversary.

It is the seabird capital of the world, and a whale superhighway.

What is the Hauraki Gulf Forum?

The Hauraki Gulf Forum is a statutory body charged with the promotion and facilitation of integrated management and the protection and enhancement of the Hauraki Gulf.

The Forum has representation on behalf of the tangata whenua of the Hauraki Gulf and its islands, the Ministers of Conservation, Fisheries and Māori Development, and elected representatives from Auckland Council (including Aotea Great Barrier Island and Waiheke Island Local Boards), Waikato Regional Council, and the Waikato, Hauraki, Thames-Coromandel and Matamata-Piako District Councils.

See haurakigulfforum.org.nz and gulfjournal.org.nz

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