Cape Rodney-Okakari Point Marine Reserve
Cape Rodney-Okakari Point Marine Reserve is New Zealand’s oldest marine reserve, protecting rich waters since 1975.
The Cape Rodney-Okakari Point Marine Reserve protects diverse habitats, including rocky coastline, sponge gardens and deep reefs, with high biodiversity and many endemic species. The reserve features warm temperate habitats representative of New Zealand’s rich and unique waters.
Cape Rodney-Okakari Point Marine Reserve is located in the Hauraki Gulf along the coast of New Zealand’s North Island. Nearly 1,000 marine species live within the reserve. It includes waters 800m from the coast and Goat Island, or Te Hāwere-a-Maki.
Te Hāwere-a-Maki is of great importance to Ngāti Manuhiri, the local Maori tribe. The Cape Rodney-Okakari Point Marine Reserve Conservation Management Strategy indicates that the Department of Conservation, “will be working to support iwi [Maori tribes] to achieve their aspirations in relation to these places and to implement settlements.”
The ecosystems within the reserve are healthier and in a more natural state than those outside its boundaries. For example, before the marine reserve was created, much of the kelp forest on the reefs was overgrazed by sea urchins. Following the implementation of the Cape Rodney-Okakari Point Marine Reserve, sea urchins declined as the abundance and body size of spiny (rock) lobster and fish increased.
The Global Ocean Refuge System is a Marine Conservation Institute initiative working to build a global network of effective marine protected areas to save ocean wildlife. In 2018, the Global Ocean Refuge System grew to include 10 blue parks around the world.