Taieri Mouth
Image: John Barkla | ©


The Forum provided recommendations on a network of Marine Protected Areas along the South Island’s southeast coast.

New marine reserves announced

In October 2023 the Minister of Conservation announced six new marine reserves will be established along the southeast coast of the South Island from Timaru to Waipapa Point in Southland.

More information about the marine reserves

Forum recommendations

The South-East Marine Protection Forum was established in 2014. Its purpose was to provide recommendations  on a network of Marine Protected Areas from Timaru to Waipapa Point.

The Forum formally completed its work when it delivered its final recommendations to the Minister of Conservation and the Minister of Fisheries on 23 February 2018.

Recommendations report (PDF, 17,879K)

The recommendations were made taking into account the views and information received from the public during the consultation process.

Ministers' decision

In March 2019, Ministers announced their decisions and outlined the statutory processes that will be followed. 

The Ministers of Conservation and Fisheries agreed to progress Network 1 as set out in the Forum’s recommendations report as it best met the objectives of the Marine Protected Areas Policy.

Ministers believed this option would create the best protection for important habitats found in the South Island’s south-eastern coastal area including foraging areas for marine mammals, birds, fish and invertebrates.

DOC and Fisheries New Zealand worked to progress the proposed network under the Fisheries Act (1996) and the Marine Reserves Act (1971).

2020 recommencing of public consultation 

Public consultation on proposals recommenced on 3 June 2020 and closed on 3 August 2020.

Background information

Forum members

Members of the Forum represented the interests of tangata whenua; commercial and recreational fishers: conservation groups; the tourism, aquaculture and marine science sectors, the local community; and local government. Forum members and the sectors they represented were:

  • Maree Baker-Galloway – Chairperson, Partner at Anderson Lloyd specialising in Environmental Law, Queenstown
  • Edward Ellison – Deputy Chair, representing the three Otago Rūnaka, Dunedin
  • Dr Philippa Agnew – environmental sector representative, Oamaru
  • Steve Bennett – recreational fishing sector, Dunedin *
  • Stephanie Blair – representing Te Rūnaka o Awarua, Invercargill
  • Simon Gilmour– commercial fishing sector, Dunedin
  • Ate Heineman – commercial fishing sector, Dunedin
  • John Henry – representing Arowhenua and Waihao, Timaru
  • Dr Chris Hepburn – marine sciences sector, Dunedin
  • Sue Maturin – environmental sector, Dunedin
  • Neville Peat – community sector, Dunedin
  • Dr Tim Ritchie – recreational fishing sector, Dunedin
  • Fergus Sutherland – Tourism sector, The Catlins
  • Carol Scott – commercial fishing sector, Nelson
  • Emeritus Professor Khyla Russell – representing the three Otago rūnaka (alternate)
  • Gail Thompson – representing Te Rūnaka o Awarua, Bluff (alternate)
  • Pauline Reid – representing Arowhenua and Waihao, Kāi Tahu (alternate)
  • Nelson Cross – recreational fishing sector, Kaka Point

* Steve Bennett replaced Nelson Cross as a recreational fishing sector representative in December 2016.

2016 Forum consultation process

In late 2016, the Forum consulted with the public, industry and stakeholders on 20 sites for possible inclusion in the network of Marine Protected Areas. This included public and stakeholder meetings, scientific input and a community questionnaire.

More than 2,800 submissions were received by the Forum for their consideration.

While the Forum members undertook to read and understand each and every submission, independent analysts were commissioned to provide summaries of the submissions received to support the Forum in their deliberations process. The independent summaries below sought to provide an overview of the key points raised in submissions.

The 2,803 submissions were received either online, in paper form or via email and equate to thousands of pages of feedback. They are collated below; all private and commercially sensitive information has been removed.

Additionally many submitters completed ‘template’ submissions (referred to as proforma submissions) which were drafted by Fish Forever, Forest and Bird, and Tautuku Fishing Club.

Note: This links to our Cerberus download site. Get help on downloading files.

Advice to Ministers

DOC and Fisheries New Zealand had a role to help Ministers understand the implications of the two recommendations put forward by the Forum, and therefore make well-informed decisions.

The following documents were provided to Ministers:

DOC-only advice to Minister of Conservation:

Fisheries New Zealand-only advice to Minister of Fisheries:

Note that some information is currently withheld from these documents under the Official Information Act due to:

  • personal contact details of officials, under section 9(2)(a) – to protect the privacy of natural persons, including deceased people
  • advice still under consideration, section 9(2)(f)(iv) – to maintain the current constitutional conventions protecting the confidentiality of advice tendered by Ministers and officials.

Lessons learned report

An independent lessons learned analysis of the South-East Marine Protection Forum process was commissioned by DOC and undertaken by the Caravel Group. 

The report’s authors found that overall the Forum process held together well; that all participants had good intent to meet the objectives, and the Forum Chair did a great job bringing differing views together, aiming for consensus.

It also identified a number of elements that could be improved, including more clearly defined marine policy and agency roles, and more time should have been spent planning and providing information before the Forum began its work.

Lessons learned report (PDF, 1,054K)

Back to top