Scorpionfish. Photo: Warren Farrelly.


This reserve covers two sites – Waikaraka, and Motukaroro/Passage Island at Reotahi. Waikaraka is one of New Zealand’s richest mangrove environments and attracts abundant birdlife. Motukaroro covers reef and sandy seabed habitats. It is notable for its diverse sea sponge populations.

Students at nearby Kamo High School applied for the reserve using their own research, funds, and consultation with the community. The process took 16 years (1990-2006), with thousands of students contributing during that time. This achievement may be unique in the world and is an outstanding example of community-driven conservation.

View the Whangarei Harbour Marine Reserve brochure (PDF, 1,220K)


Whangarei Harbour is located on Northland's east coast, about 160 km north of Auckland.

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DOC maps: Discover the outdoors - DOC's key places, campsites, tracks and huts, and visitor centres on a map

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Check, Clean, Dry between waterways and stop the spread of didymo.

Walking track categories


Follow the Outdoor Safety Code:
1. Plan your trip
2. Tell someone
3. Be aware of the weather
4. Know your limits
5. Take sufficient supplies

Alerts for Northland places

Tips for driving on unsealed roads


Whangarei Office
Phone:      +64 9 470 3300
Full office details