Protecting the Hauraki Gulf

Last Updated : 04 Feb 2022

The Hauraki Gulf / Tīkapa Moana / Te Moananui-ā-Toi is a taonga. Its diversity of landscape, its plant, animal and marine species make it a natural treasure.

It has a rich history that means it is a special place for many New Zealanders - tangata whenua, island residents, visitors and tourists.  But for each person who enjoys the beauty and value of the gulf there is an impact.

“All our local partners have shared record numbers of boats hitting the water and visiting the sheltered bays around islands. The focus on staying in New Zealand has encouraged more people to buy boats. It’s great to see Aucklanders really loving visiting the Hauraki Gulf, but it increases the risk to this taonga,” says Pippa Coom, co-chair of the Hauraki Gulf Forum.

Auckland Council is helping make sure we all protect our Hauraki Gulf, not just for now but for future generations. While our vision is ambitious, we can each take responsibility for our actions right now, with some clear simple steps to value the lands and waters for the taonga they are.

Check, Clean, Close

Before you head out this summer check, clean, close to protect the Hauraki Gulf from pests.


It's an offence to move pests in the Hauraki Gulf. To avoid pests from spreading, check your gear, shoes, boat and kayaks for mice, rats, ants, plague skinks and weeds. To control pests, you can keep fresh rodent bait and set traps, place rat guards on mooring ropes or anchor chains on your vessel.

Signs of rodents include droppings or gnawed wiring. They love hiding, so double-check popular 'shelters' such as open lockers, dinghies and underneath the hull. If you're camping, unpack and check your tents and bedding thoroughly and keep sleeping bags in separate zipped-up bags.


Dirt transported on camping, tramping gear and footwear could carry deadly kauri dieback disease, harbour weed seed or pests. Clean dirty gear and footwear to remove all soil and seeds.


Pack food into sealed containers to keep pests out. Don't use open bags as they will attract pests.

I found a pest! What now?

If you spot a pest, make sure to get rid of them correctly and humanely. Don't throw rats or mice overboard alive. If you see any pests on pest-free islands- let us know. Call 0800 DOC HOT (0800 362 468) or contact us on 09 301 0101.

There are more easy actions you can take to protect our Hauraki Gulf. Check them out here.

Waste Services

Before you head out to the Gulf, plan ahead and minimise the amount of packaging and disposable items you take with you – consider de-packaging food and transferring it to reusable containers before setting off and take reusable water bottles and coffee cups along with you.

Where possible, please take your waste home with you and dispose of it responsibly in your kerbside collections.

If you must dispose of rubbish whilst visiting the islands, please note that waste services are limited and can be checked for each Island as follows:

Waiheke Island

On Waiheke all rubbish and recyclables have to be transported back to the Auckland isthmus and sent to landfill or to the recycling processing facility. Visitors should use roadside rubbish and recycling collection services, drop off household waste and recyclables to the Community Resource Recovery Park (CRRP), or take waste away and dispose of it responsibly on the mainland through kerbside rubbish and recycling collection services.

If you are unable to get to the CRRP during opening hours and are not on the island for collection day, After Hours Visitor Waste Bins are located at the CRRP and are available for use from 4.30pm to 8am daily and will be available for use on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Please ensure you place your rubbish into an official pre-paid council rubbish bag before using this facility, and sort your recycling into the bin provided to help minimise waste to landfill.

For more information on waste services on Waiheke Island click here.

Aotea Great Barrier Island

If you are visiting Aotea Great Barrier Island on holiday, plan ahead, bring minimal packaging with you, choose reusable containers, pack in, pack out, and leave nothing behind. There are no public bins anywhere on the Island. Roadside collections are on Mondays and Tuesdays. 

For more information on waste services on Aotea Great Barrier Island click here.

Rakino Island

There are eight public drop-off points located around the island for the drop off of rubbish and recycling. Please ensure all waste is separated into the correct bins provided. This is transported regularly to Home Bay for sorting, and transportation to the mainland.

Kawau Island

There are no public rubbish or recycling bins on Kawau Island, and the rubbish and recycling enclosure near Sandspit wharf is for the use of Island residents only.

Excess rubbish and recycling and larger items may be able to be taken to local Community Recycling Centres (CRC) - Lawrie Road CRC, Warkworth and/or Rustybrook Road CRC, Wellsford. For opening hours, prices and accepted items visit

For more information on waste services on Kawau Island click here.


If you see dumped rubbish on public property, call 0800 NO DUMP (0800 663 867) 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Offenders caught illegally dumping rubbish will be ordered to remove the rubbish and may be issued with a fine of up to $30,000.

Risky Items

Some transported goods (including the trailer or vehicle carrying the items) have a higher chance of moving pests. It is now a requirement to have buildings inspected and council-approved for travel before being moved to the islands. Many islands are pest free and it is important that everything is checked and free from pests before you head out to the Hauraki Gulf.

Before travelling

  • Check for pests (ants, skinks and their eggs)
  • Remove soil, seeds and plant material
  • Check and clean all machinery/bikes/kayaks and dirty diggers
  • Clean and dry all fishing gear
  • Consider buying goods locally on the islands
  • Consider leaving pets at home
  • Check, clean gear and close all containers

If you have any questions about whether goods being transported are a risk or what to look for, please contact us on 09 3010101.

Find more information and a list of risky items [PDF] or the Hauraki Gulf here.


The Hauraki Gulf Islands provide a safe habitat for some of our most endangered animals and plants. Weeds and pests pose a threat to these species.

Here is a list of pests likely to hide on, in and around your gear, shoes, boats and kayaks:

Rats and Mice

Eat birds, eggs, reptiles and insects. They can also chew the wiring in your boats, contaminate your food and leave droppings on board.

Argentine Ants

Kill native insects, birds and reptiles. They form large colonies and can swarm and bite people when disturbed. They take over large areas and are very costly to eradicate.

Plague Skinks

Breed prolifically and have already displaced our native skinks on the mainland. They (and/or their eggs) are easily transported to islands in potted plants, compost, soil and garden materials. Plague skinks can also come inside your home and hide inside your day pack.

Weeds & their Seeds

Can become a weed forest, dominating and smothering native plants. They hide in dirt and on camping gear, shoes and wheels. It is easy to accidently pick them up on your socks and boots and unintentionally collect them in your pockets when walking through the bush.

Dirt and Soil

Can contain plant diseases such as kauri dieback which has no cure. See to learn why we need to clean our shoes, wheels and gear. Most islands such as Waiheke do not have kauri dieback disease and we need to prevent its spread.

Check out our pest search website for a full list of pests and more information on how to control them.

Dogs and pets

Pets are banned from pest-free islands, Motukorea / Browns Island, Ponui, Pakahi, Pakatoa and Rotoroa Islands - including their beaches. They can disturb and harm wildlife, e.g., kiwi, weka, brown teal (pateke) and shore birds. Leave them at home or on your boat, or you may be fined. 

Find out where you are allowed to take them ashore here. It might be kinder to leave them at home.

Back to News