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Research Results

Huge support for protecting and restoring the Hauraki Gulf

19 Nov 21

Huge support for protecting and restoring the Hauraki Gulf
Hauraki Gulf highly valued

A ground breaking new poll shows overwhelming public support for measures to protect and restore the Hauraki Gulf, Tīkapa Moana, Te Moananui-ā-Toi.

The poll of 1020 respondents was conducted by Horizon Research from 27 September to 17 October 2021.

Respondents, living by or near or travelling to the Gulf, were asked whether the Gulf was important to them, what they valued about it, and whether they supported or opposed the goals of the Hauraki Gulf Forum. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 3 percent.

In a statement the Hauraki Gulf Forum Co-Chair Pippa Coom says:

“As would be expected, the poll confirms that the Hauraki Gulf is highly prized. 81 per cent of respondents said the Gulf was important to them, with its beautiful beaches, natural environment, and water the most valued aspects.” “At the same time, the results underscore that people have had enough of dredging, trawling and dumping in our big blue backyard” says Hauraki Gulf Forum Tangata Whenua Co-Chair Nicola MacDonald. “It’s time for them to go.”

The Forum says the poll reveals massive support for action to turnaround the Gulf’s degraded environment:

- 84% support planting all waterways leading into the Gulf – just 1% oppose

- 84% support re-establishment of lost shellfish-beds and reefs – 3% oppose.

- 84% support banning fishing methods that impact the seafloor, like dredging and bottom-trawling – 3% oppose.

- 77% support putting 30% of the Gulf into marine protected areas – 5% oppose.

- 73% support ending marine dumping – 6% oppose.

- 68% support the use of customary practices such as rāhui – 9% oppose.

- 60% support locally managed Ahu Moana areas – 14% oppose.

“Protecting and restoring the Hauraki Gulf is political gold,” says Pippa Coom. “This is the first time we have conducted an independent poll on attitudes to the whole Hauraki Gulf and the numbers are off the charts.

"To have support upwards of 70-80 per cent and opposition in the single digits represents a massive swing in favour of strong, ambitious action to revitalise the Gulf.

“No matter which way you break down these numbers, there is huge support for the Forum’s goals” says Nicola MacDonald. “Even those polled who fished in the Gulf supported our 30 per cent marine protection goal by a factor of 7 to 1. This poll should give huge confidence to government, mana whenua, councils, communities and all those looking to effect positive change around Tīkapa Moana, Te Moananui-ā-Toi.”

The full poll is available for download at


The Hauraki Gulf Marine Park New Zealand’s first marine park. It’s a big park, stretching from Te Arai in the north to Waihi in the south. At 1.2 million hectares, or 20 times the size of Lake Taupō, it includes the Waitematā Harbour, Gulf Islands, Firth of Thames and the east coast of the Coromandel Peninsula.

The Park was established by the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park Act in February 2000. It is the seabird capital of the world, and a whale superhighway. But it is a shadow of its former self, as six State of the Gulf reports have shown:

The Hauraki Gulf Forum is a statutory governance board established under the Marine Park Act to advocate for the Gulf. The Forum has representation on behalf of the tangata whenua of the Hauraki Gulf and its islands, the Ministers of Conservation, Fisheries and Māori Development, and elected representatives from Auckland Council (including Aotea Great Barrier Island and Waiheke Island Local Boards), Waikato Regional Council, and the Waikato, Hauraki, ThamesCoromandel and Matamata-Piako District Councils. The Forum is required to present triennial reports regarding the state of the environment of the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park.

More information on the Forum and the Marine Park is available at