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GBI Marine Reserve Application

Great Barrier Island Marine Reserve Application

Department of Conservation

2004 - 2008

May 2008

After several years of deliberations the Minister of Fisheries, Jim Anderton, has rejected the Department of Conservation's application for a marine reserve off the northeast coast of Great Barrier Island (Aotea).

May 2006

The Minister of Conservation has agreed with his department and approved the marine reserve for the north east coast of Aotea (Great Barrier Island). The Minister of Fisheries has been asked for his concurrence (agreement). The Minister of Transport has already given his approval.

In an effort to appease concerns about the process undertaken by the Department of Conservation the Ministry of Fisheries agreed to visit the island to talk to tangata whenua about the impact of the marine reserve on them. This commitment was made at a Hokianga Accord hui in July 2005.

Kaitiakitanga - a chance to prove that kaitiakitanga (guardianship) is an alternative to marine reserves. An article written by Rendt Gorter is available online - have a read, it is well worthwhile. The Ministry have been left in no doubt how the islanders feel about DoC's plans and Ministry's role in the debacle.

June 2005

option4 are appalled that the Minister of Conservation, Chris Carter, and his Department are continuing to implement its marine reserve strategy while ignoring the concerns of tangata whenua and the public. The imposition of a marine reserve off the north east coast of Great Barrier Island is contrary to the public interest, despite what Carter has said. There is no justification for this marine reserve.

It does not achieve what the public have clearly asked for, and that is an integrated approach to marine protection. The goal of more fish in the water for us and our future generations is more desirable than another community having their wishes overridden.  

option4 believe meaningful marine protection will only be achieved by coordination, cooperation and a process that includes tangata whenua and the public.



The all too short 60-day objection period for the Department of Conservation's application for a marine reserve at Great Barrier Island has passed. option4 regret not being available to get an Alert out to help people get the whole story and submit accordingly.

However, we have compiled a catalogue of information so you can follow the process and make your own judgement on what has been an ongoing debate about the failure of the Department of Conservation to adequately consult with the public in their drive to implement marine reserves.

Without a coordinated, integrated approach to marine protection the depth of feeling expressed during this process is likely to be reflected in reaction to other worthwhile proposals - not an ideal situation for those of us who want effective marine protection for this country we love so much.

There were a number of initiatives to alert people to the DoC driven process that we are aware of:

  • Barry Luckman managed a campaign that produced over 800 objections to the application. These objections have been sent to the Department.
  • The Outdoor Recreation NZ Marine Committee produced a form that enabled people to object to the process.
  • Kevin Burke worked hard to distribute a survey form to measure the economic impact on the Island if the application proceeded. The results have been compiled and are included in Kevin's objection below.



If you would like to make a comment to option4 you can email us at contact@option4.co.nz

If you have a comment to make to the Department of Conservation you can email them directly.

Email - greatbarrierisland@doc.govt.nz

Postal - Director-General of Conservation, Department of Conservation, Auckland Conservancy, Private Bag 68-908, Newton, Auckland


Latest News - 2008
Congratulations from the Kiwi Party to the Minister of Fisheries for declining DoC's application for a marine reserve at Aotea (Great Barrier Island).

16 May 08

(30 Kb)

The Minister of Conservation, Steve Chadwick, promotes the Marine Protected Areas Policy as an alternative to DoC's Barrier marine reserve application.

16 May 08

(20 Kb)

Jim Anderton's decision

The Fisheries Minister's welcome and just decision to decline DoC's application for a marine reserve at Great Barrier Island (Aotea).

15 May 08

(50 Kb)

News - 2006
The Minister of Fisheries responds to the letter from the North Island East Coast Recreational Forum concerning the Aotea (Barrier) marine reserve.

25 Jul 06

(295 Kb)

Letter to Jim Anderton regarding his concurrence decision for the marine reserve at Aotea (Great Barrier Island). Sent with advice paper.

21 Jul 06

Advice paper sent to the Minister to advise of the NI East Coast Forum's objection to the Aotea reserve and why they don't support DoC's approval.

19 Jul 06

Costs of Barrier Reserve

While DoC has no intention of providing money to balance the argument concerning marine reserves they are quite happy to spend over $270,000 of your money on the Barrier proposal.

26 Jun 06

Kaitiakitanga (Guardianship)

MFish concurrence process - hui with Ngati Rehua at Motairehe marae. Unanimous rejection of the reserve as proposed and the DoC process and attitude.

5 Apr 06

News - 2005
Report on hikoi protesting against the DoC attitude and process for imposing no take forever marine reserve on the tangata whenua of Aotea.

18 Jul 05

Larry Baldock slams into DoC and calls them the Department of Confiscation. "It's confiscation, pure and simple," he said.  More here...

23 Jun 05

Warwick Murray, acting Auckland DoC conservator, doubts there will be a judicial review of the approval for the Aotea marine reserve.

18 Jun 05

"Confiscation in the name of conservation" says Larry Baldock of United Future in response to Carter's announcement.

16 Jun 05

Forest and Bird welcomed the Minister's decision on the Aotea (Great Barrier) marine reserve.

16 Jun 05

Carter's announcement of his approval for the marine reserve off the north east coast of Great Barrier Island.

16 Jun 05

Letter sent to those who submitted to DoC on the proposed reserve.

Full text available in a PDF 50Kb » »

16 Jun 05

Map of the Aotea (Great Barrier) Marine Reserve, all 49,500 ha of it.

16 Jun 05

Update available on the DoC website

5 Oct 04

Objections to the Application
Kevin Burke of the Barrier Bulletin writes in his objection " a marine reserve would be otherwise contrary to the public interest." (408Kb pdf)

Oct 2004

The NZ Rock Lobster Industry Council objects to the application and the Dept's failure to justify the need for a reserve on the north east coast.

Oct 2004

In a major shift Auckland City Council objects to DoC's plan as it has "significant reservations and concerns that do need to be addressed"

Oct 2004

The Dept should develop "a more rational, acceptable, mutually beneficial protection strategy" says John Mellars of Okupu, GBI.

Oct 2004

The "submission process is fundamentally anti democratic" writes Stef Railey.

Oct 2004

The NZ Big Game Fishing Council submits the "science" is purely speculative, and the proposal document is misleading and contradictory.."

Oct 2004

A brief objection to DoC's application from a long time charter skipper and Barrier fan, Brett Rathe - Assassin Charters.

Oct 2004

Ian Goodison objects to the application and says it "does not reflect the needs and beliefs of the community."

Sep 2004

A Young Conservator Award winner, Hadyn Luckman, objects to DoC's plans for the north east coast of Great Barrier Island.

Sep 2004

"The Department has divorced itself from the community that it is supposed to be serving.." submits Barry Luckman.

Sep 2004

"..we are left with nothing but to object to the proposal for three reasons....." says Helmut Bender and Meryle Thomson of Great Barrier.

Sep 2004

Recreational Fishing NZ asks the Department for answers to questions relating to the biodiversity of the area around Great Barrier Island.

Sep 2004

"We have no option but to oppose the proposal in its entirety. We do not feel DOC has presented appropriate evidence..." says the MTA

Sep 2004

Submission in Support
Whangateau Harbour Care Group submit in support of the application on the grounds it will "provide an important level of insurance...."

Oct 2004

Marine Reserve Effects Survey
An innovative step to measure the effects the proposed Aotea Reserve would have on the Northern Barrier business community and population.

Aug 2004

From only 57 responses the estimated annual loss to GBI if the marine reserve proceeds is almost $150,000. Just imagine the real impact.

Oct 2004

August 2004

Petition - Objection Form

The format used to gather objections to the marine reserve application. Over 800 people took advantage of this opportunity during the time available.

Aug 2004


The myth continues

Forest and Bird Conservation News No. 135 August 2004

...one of the great side effects of marine reserves is not only increased fish numbers inside them but also in the adjoining areas where they are also available to fishers....

Aug 2004

Doc announcement in 'Auckland Naturally'

An insight into how DoC do their job on our behalf - the marine reserve announcement is published in a Forest and Bird publication before those who have submitted to the process even know about the application.

Aug 2004

Background Information

option4's comprehensive record of the 2003 proposal process


More Info...


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