This report describes the methods used to produce the data, results and discussion including potential uses of this mapping resource. View the completed maps of this project. Published 2009.

Download the publication


The marine technical team at Northland Conservancy has completed a marine habitat map for the Northland section of the Northeast Marine Bioregion. The maps cover an area of 1.34 million hectares extending out 12 nautical miles from the coast between Ahipara in the west to Mangawhai on the east coast. 

Habitats were classified according to the Marine Protected Areas Classification, Protection Standard and Implementation Guidelines, with modifications required by insufficient data quality in some areas of the region. Data were collated from a range of recent and historic sources. These data include multibeam and sidescan sonar data from the National Institute for Water and Atmospheric Research and Land Information New Zealand.  A ‘rapid sonar survey’ technique was developed to fill data gaps for areas not covered by past or recent survey effort. These sources and methods are described to assist in understanding the strengths and weaknesses of the current habitat maps and to help implement improvements in this and future work

Rocky reefs make up 14.3% of the mapped area, indicating the presence of a significant array of these habitats. Estuarine areas make up 3.3% of the mapping area and include internationally significant tidal flats, Zostera capricorni seagrass beds and the Avicennia marina mangrove areas of Parengarenga and Rangaunu Harbours.

The use of the habitat maps to identify potential locations for a network of marine protected areas in Northland is discussed and recommendations are made to incorporate this information within decision support tools to assist in planning, education and community engagement. The habitat maps, underlying data and techniques developed also provide a valuable resource for other research and management projects in Northland and elsewhere.

Back to top