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Project Q&A

14 July 2015, 01:59 PM

More on the Sea Change – Tai Timu Tai Pari project and how we're working towards the Hauraki Gulf/Tikapa Moana Marine Spatial Plan.

Q. As of July 2015, has the content of the Hauraki Gulf/Tikapa Moana Marine Spatial Plan been decided?

No. While the SWG has made major progress on most Gulf issues that are ‘on the table’, initial drafting work on the plan showed that some of the biggest issues needed further discussion before a consensus decision could be reached. For this reason the idea of a project timeframe extension was welcomed by the SWG.

Q. Will the final Marine Spatial Plan advocate for more or less marine protection?

Marine protection, which includes marine reserves, is an important and high-profile issue, but it is only one issue among many the SWG has considered during its 18 months of deliberations. One of the strengths of the Marine Spatial Planning process is that complementary or competing uses and values are considered together rather than in isolation, in a collaboration process that produces an entire plan. Individual components of the plan should not be considered in isolation but as part of a holistic whole.

At this stage in plan development, it’s simply too early to say anything other than this: the SWG is considering the question of marine protection, in all its forms, very carefully alongside the other issues that affect the Gulf.

Q. Is Sea Change – Tai Timu Tai Pari focussing on commercial or environmental interests?

Both – and more. Sea Change – Tai Timu Tai Pari is all about improving the Gulf – its ecology, its economy and the health and wellbeing of its communities; and you can’t think about community without including the importance of culture, custom and Mana Whenua. It has been clear from the start of the SWG process that the economy of the Gulf, which supports the people and communities of the Gulf, is dependent on the ecosystem of the Gulf. You can’t consider the economy without including how it interacts with and is supported by the ecosystem, and what it means to Gulf users and communities. Many, if not all, of the activities in the Gulf depend on the health of the Gulf ecosystem: consideration of how this can be improved is a fundamental driver of the SWG process.

So it’s not about economy ‘or’ environment: it’s about ‘and’. Everything has the potential to impact on everything else – which is one of the reasons developing long-term solutions for the Gulf is so complex. If it was easy, it would have been done already!

Q. Who are the Stakeholder Working Group and how were they chosen?

In December 2013, 14 representatives from local networks, users, Mana Whenua and communities around the Gulf were brought together in the Tai Timu Tai Pari – Sea Change Stakeholder Working Group, known as the SWG.

Ten SWG members were selected by stakeholders from within the Hauraki Gulf community and four members by Mana Whenua. Their role is to produce the Tikapa Moana/Hauraki Gulf Marine Spatial Plan using a collaborative, stakeholder-led model. 

Q. Why does the SWG include people from both Auckland and the Waikato?

It’s a common misconception that the Hauraki Gulf/Tikapa Moana ‘stops’ at the northernmost point of the Coromandel Peninsula. It doesn’t. In fact the Gulf, which was established as the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park in 2000, also takes in the entire eastern coastline of the Coromandel, all the way down through Whitianga, Hot Water Beach and Whangamata to a point east of Waihi. In addition, the catchment area of the Gulf includes a large area of Waikato land, both rural and urban.

For this reason, it was recognised from the outset that any group deciding on a plan for the Gulf’s future must include representatives from both the Auckland and Waikato regions.

Q. Given the SWG members come from very diverse backgrounds, do they agree on a purpose?

Early in the project, the SWG agreed on a vision which they have worked to ever since. The SWG aims to develop a Marine Spatial Plan that will achieve a Hauraki Gulf/Tikapa Moana that:

  • is vibrant with life and healthy mauri
  • is increasingly productive
  • supports healthy and prosperous communities.

Q. Who provides project oversight?

Project partners supporting Sea Change – Tai Timu Tai Pari are Mana Whenua, Auckland Council, Waikato Regional Council, Department of Conservation, Ministry for Primary Industries and the Hauraki Gulf Forum. Representatives from all of these partner organisations sit on the Project Steering Group and the Project Board, providing both oversight and support to the project.

In addition, the Project Steering Group appointed an Independent Review Panel (IRP) in July 2014 to review and provide support to certain aspects of the project process.

Q. Has the public been asked to contribute to the Sea Change – Tai Timu Tai Pari project?

Absolutely: community knowledge sits with scientific knowledge and mātauranga Māori at the heart of this collaborative project.

Anyone can view the reports and summaries of public input on the project website, but in summary: over the last 18 months, the public has contributed enormous knowledge and insight (and in many cases, potential solutions) to Sea Change – Tai Timu Tai Pari.

People were asked to share in person through hui, Listening Posts and events around the Gulf, as well as through two Love our Gulf campaigns. Responses to formal public surveys have been an important source of project information, as has the expertise provided over six months by the 60 or so people who acted as Roundtable members.

Periodically, we have checked in with our ‘Hauraki 100+’ group of close stakeholders. This group has helped us work through the issues facing the Gulf and given us the benefit of their informed insight at key moments in the process.

All public input gathered during the project has been analyed and communicated through to the Sea Change – Tai Timu Tai Pari Stakeholder Working Group (SWG) to inform and support their work.

Q. Once it is released, how will the Hauraki Gulf/Tikapa Moana Marine Spatial Plan be used?

The Sea Change – Tai Timu Tai Pari Hauraki Gulf Marine Spatial Plan will not be a legally binding document but it will guide the regulatory authorities who manage Gulf and its catchments. It will be then be for these authorities to reflect on the recommendations from the plan when undertaking their statutory processes. It will also provide guidance and recommendations for voluntary action from communities, interest groups and industry.  

The plan will ultimately inform how the Hauraki Gulf is shared, used and safeguarded, now and for future generations.

This media item was current at its release date. The facts or figures it contains may have changed since its original publication.


Hauraki Gulf Forum Ministry for Primary Industries  Department of Conservation (DOC) Waikato Regional Council Auckland Council