October 05, 2023
Ngāi Tahu clears way for southeast coast marine reserves
Breeding grounds and habitats for hoiho yellow eyed penguins, toroa/northern royal albatross and rāpoka/New Zealand sea lions are included in six new marine reserves between Oamaru and The Catlins.
They’re the first marine reserves in the south-east South Island and will increase the area in marine reserves around mainland New Zealand by more than two thirds.
Conservation Minister Willow-Jean Prime says the reserves include estuarine and tidal lagoons, rocky reefs, offshore canyons, giant kelp forests and deepwater bryozoan or lace coral thickets, and an array of marine life which is under pressure from human activity.
She says Kāi Tahu will work in partnership with the Department of Conservation to manage the marine reserves once they are in place.
Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu deputy kaiwhakahaere Matapura Ellison says the six affected papatipu rūnaka have been working with the Crown on the South East Coast Marine Protection plan for nine years.
He says while the iwi’s commercial fishing rights will likely be affected by the new reserves, it has made a pragmatic decision to support the protection of the network for the benefit of all New Zealanders.