• Nick Smith

The Minister of Conservation Nick Smith today announced Government approval for the first marine reserve on the East Coast of New Zealand at Te Angiangi in central Hawkes Bay.

"Marine conservation is miles behind conservation initiatives on land. Less than one percent of our marine environment has been put aside for conservation as compared with 30 percent of our land area. This new marine reserve is part of the increasing appreciation of the diversity of life in the marine environment."

"The most stunning aspect of the 446 hectare reserve is the broad, flat, rock platform that is exposed at low tide. This platform supports a very unique plant, eel grass, one of the few flowering plants that live in the marine environment. The low tide rock platform is also an important feeding area for a variety of coastal birds including bar-tailed godwits, variable oyster catchers, pied stilts and herons. The reserve also contains more than 200 species of seaweed, invertebrates and fish."

"The idea of a marine reserve in this area was first suggested in 1981 by the Pourerere Beach Association. The Association is to be congratulated for the considerable amount of work and consultation they did, even before formally applying for reserve status. The Northern boundary of the original proposal was slightly modified for safety reasons. Te Angiangi marine reserve is on the Northern Wairarapa Coast east of Waipawa between Aramoana and Blackhead beaches."

"The beauty of this reserve will just add to the many scenic attractions in the Hawkes Bay. I have been a keen supporter of marine reserves and am thrilled to be able to announce the creation of one more. Te Angiangi Marine Reserve will be the fourteenth jewel in the crown of marine reserves around the country."

Iwi have been involved in consultations about the reserve, with Ngati Kere assisting with the naming of the reserve. The name, Te Angiangi, recalls local history. Ngati Kere will be involved in the on-going management of the reserve. The Marine Reserve Act requires the concurrence of the Ministers of Fisheries and Transport with the decision, and these have been given. The order in council gazetting the new marine reserve was approved by cabinet and signed by the Governor General today. The reserve will take affect from 7 August 1997.