The Hauraki Gulf plays a significant role in the lives of Aucklanders and forms a significant part of the region’s identity.
However, it is also facing unique environmental challenges.
It is with the values of conservation, collaboration and community in mind that a partnership between Auckland Council, the Department of Conservation, and Foundation North has been established to protect Hauraki Gulf.
Issues affecting both marine and terrestrial ecosystems in the gulf include pest plants and animals, over-fishing, pollution and poor water quality (e.g. nutrients, sediment, rubbish, metals and other toxins). Despite these issues though, the gulf has also long been recognised as having unique opportunities for environmental protection.
Later this month, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) will be signed by Foundation North, Auckland Council and Department of Conservation. Jointly, they are pledging to provide advice, technical expertise and support for Foundation North’s Gulf Innovation Fund Together (GIFT) program. GIFT was launched in August this year, and seeks to develop innovative solutions to the aforementioned challenges.
Auckland Council Biodiversity Manager Rachel Kelleher says the partnership with Foundation North and DOC is an important move forward to facilitate broader community action.
“Hauraki Gulf is hugely valued by the people of Auckland, and is a globally significant hotspot for seabird biodiversity, with a range of management challenges. We’re excited to be working together to face these by taking a holistic approach” she says.
For Meg Poutasi, Partnerships Director at the Department of Conservation, collaboration is at the heart of effective conservation.
“Conservation works when we all work together. Tīkapa Moana, the Hauraki Gulf, is a toanga/treasure for all Aucklanders and visitors to Auckland. By working collaboratively, we can maximise the support Foundation North provides for conservation and environmental outcomes. Together we can continue to protect our significant sacred places and species.”
The partnership will be reviewed annually and is managed by a Relationship Manager from each organisation.