The Marine Protected Areas (MPA) Policy seeks to protect marine biodiversity by establishing a network of MPAs that is comprehensive and representative of New Zealand’s marine habitats and ecosystems. The policy aims to protect representative examples of the full range of marine habitats and ecosystems, as well as outstanding, rare, distinctive or internationally or nationally important marine habitats and ecosystems. While it aims to achieve a target of protecting 10% of New Zealand’s marine environment, the ultimate extent of protection will be determined by what coverage is required to establish a comprehensive and representative network of marine protected areas.
This report provides an analysis of which coastal habitats in the New Zealand Territorial Sea are currently represented in areas that meet the New Zealand MPA Protection Standard (the Protection Standard). The report maps approximate, predominantly physical, surrogates of habitats derived from broad categories of environmental drivers such as depth, substratum, exposure and the actions of biogenic, habitat forming organisms. It does not however, aim to assess outstanding, rare, distinctive, internationally or nationally important habitats or ecosystems, or finer scale species associations and ecosystem processes.