Snapper and blue maomao
The Tāwharanui Marine Reserve was established in September 2011. The marine reserve covers an area of approximately 400 ha along the northern coast of the Tawharanui Peninsula, about 90 km north of Auckland.
The majority of the marine reserve area has been a no take fishing zone since 1981 when the Tawharanui Marine Park was established. The Tāwharanui Marine Reserve replaces the marine park.
The marine reserve is the fifth marine reserve to be established in the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park, New Zealand's "national park of the sea".
The marine reserve complements the adjacent Tawharanui Regional Park. The regional park is also an open sanctuary, where native plants and animals including kiwi can live and breed successfully without the threat of predators.
Anchor Bay, Tāwharanui Marine Reserve
The marine environment of the Tāwharanui Marine Reserve has extensive intertidal and subtidal reefs typical of the moderately exposed coasts of north-eastern New Zealand. The marine reserve contains a range of habitats including rock platforms, reefs with overhangs, tunnels and caves.
More than 50 species of fish have been recorded in the marine reserve including including stingray, eagle ray, moray and conger eels. Schools of red mullet, bigeye, red moki, blue maomao, spotty, and koheru are commonly seen. Snapper and spiny lobster are more common and larger inside the marine reserve than outside.
Oysters, mussels, kina, catsyes, and topshells are found in the rock pools along the coastline and there are scallop beds out in Omaha Bay. Bottle nosed dolphin and pilot whales also visit the area.
View a map of the marine habitat (PDF, 1,310 K)
The Tāwharanui Marine Reserve has geological formations that are unique to the area. Greywacke, the base rock of the New Zealand, is exposed forming huge grey-green rocks. This exposure is rare on the New Zealand mainland and is more typical on offshore islands.
These ancient rocks from the Jurassic period feature marine fossils, which are very rare, and a feature of national significance.
Marine reserve name
The name Tāwharanui ties the marine reserve to the Tawharanui Peninsula. The English translation of Tāwharanui refers to the abundance of the climbing vine kiekie (Freycinetia baueriana). It is likely that kiekie was a predominant or significant plant in the area at the time the area was named Tāwharanui.
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