Nature and conservation
No two days are the same at Taputeranga - the weather is changeable and the water churns through Cook Strait, creating a moody and complex undersea environment.
Kelp forest, Island Bay
The reserve lies along Wellington's exposed southern coastline. It is swept by strong tidal currents bringing nutrients from Cook Strait, and pounded by swells from the southern ocean. This creates ideal growing conditions for seaweeds, particularly the large browns.
Kelp plants up to 20 m tall grow in sheltered places such as Island Bay. About 400 species of seaweed have been recorded within the reserve.
Drifting in and out of the seaweeds you will see butterfish, blue moki, marblefish and smaller pickers such as spotty, banded and scarlet wrasse. Long finger reefs separated by gravel filled channels run offshore.
Beneath the tangle of seaweed the walls of these are channels are covered with sponges, hydroids and anemones. Great places to look for gaudy nudibranchs. Several ship wrecks lie in the reserve, however relentless pounding by ocean swells means little remains to be seen.
Taputeranga Marine Reserve is located on the Wellington south coast, approximately 6 km from the city centre.
Buses run regularly from central Wellington to Island Bay, Houghton Bay and nearby Lyall Bay. There's a walking track along the coastline.
Know before you go
Its shoreline boundary winds approximately 5km, from the old quarry west of Owhiro Bay in the west, to just west of Te Raekaihau Point in the east, taking in Owhiro, Island and Houghton Bays. The outer boundary of the reserve is 2.3km out to sea.
Map of permitted commercial fisher rock lobster holding pot sites in the reserve (PDF, 150K)
Fishing and the removal or disturbance of any living or non-living marine resource is prohibited, except as necessary for permitted monitoring or research. If you come across any research equipment, please do not disturb it. Do not feed the fish (this disrupts their behaviour).
There are also penalties for:
- Discharging toxic substances or pollutants.
- Disturbing wildlife such as marine mammals and birds.
- Wilfully damaging marine life or the natural features of the reserve.
- Building an unauthorised structure.
- Using anything that you know has come from the reserve.
- Failing to give your correct name and address to a ranger.
- Threatening or bribing a ranger.
What to do if people remove anything from the reserve
Please report the activity to 0800 DOC HOT (0800 362 468). Please also report pollution, oil spills, navigation hazards, and dangerous boating to Greater Wellington Regional Council's Environmental Protection Hotline (0800 496 734).