Love them or hate them, Auckland’s mangroves are impossible to ignore. 

And that’s just fine with GNS Science which has launched a survey of people’s relationship to and understanding of mangroves for council’s Healthy Waters team.

Healthy Waters supports the Manukau Harbour Forum, which brings together the nine local boards that line the harbour. It says mangroves can be a polarising topic, with some people seeing them as vital to the natural environment, but others as an enemy to defeat.  

It’s hoped the survey will allow people with expertise in mangroves to contribute their experiences to help provide information that can be used to shape policies in the future. 

The survey seeks to understand how people value mangroves and their role within the ecosystem. It is being led by GNS scientist Rawinia Lloyd, who has put together a 10-minute survey and is now looking for subject matter experts to participate.  

Anyone with knowledge or an interest in mangroves can support her work by completing the survey here. 

“Our goal is to understand how people value mangroves and their part in the ecosystem, things we call services, such as their role as a food source, building material, as medicine, or in water cleansing,” she says.

“But there are equally disservices, things like blocking views, bad smells, spreading disease, and harbouring pest species.  

“We also aim to highlight the potential of mangroves to be used in nature-based solutions such as in lessening the impact of waves and harsh weather on our coasts, and in keeping our air and water clean.” 
Manukau Harbour Forum chair Jon Turner says it seems like there are as many opinions on mangroves are there are plants. “We have seen extensive removals in parts of the harbour, notably at Waiuku, where thousands of tonnes have been removed, but we also have groups calling for their retention. 

“The science is not settled and is evolving as we understand more about these plants and the role they play. We would encourage anyone with a degree of expertise to complete the survey.” 

The survey is anonymous, should take no more than 10 minutes, and can be completed on a phone, computer or other electronic device.  

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