Have your say on a proposal to change the current legal name of “Whanganui A Hei (Cathedral Cove) Marine Reserve” to “Te Whanganui-O-Hei (Cathedral Cove) Marine Reserve”. Submissions closed 26 April 2022.

The general public and, in particular, affected iwi, hapū, and whānau are invited to give advice on this name change proposal.

Submissions closed 26 April 2022. 

What’s proposed

Current legal name: Whanganui A Hei (Cathedral Cove) Marine Reserve

This marine reserve was established by the Marine Reserve (Whanganui A Hei (Cathedral Cove) Order 1992 made under the Marine Reserves Act 1971.
Proposed name: Te Whanganui-O-Hei (Cathedral Cove) Marine Reserve

An amendment to the existing 1992 Order will be required to change the name of the marine reserve. If this amendment is made, Te Whanganui-O-Hei (Cathedral Cove) Marine Reserve will become the legal name for the marine reserve.

Local iwi, Ngāti Hei, have requested that the name be changed to “Te Whanganui-O-Hei (Cathedral Cove) Marine Reserve” as the use of “O” gives greater respect to Hei as their ancestor.

Name change process

Section 5(7A) of the Marine Reserves Act 1971 requires that the proposed name of a proposed marine reserve be referred to the New Zealand Geographic Board (Ngā Pou Taunaha o Aotearoa). On this webpage, they’ll be called the ‘Board’. Although this marine reserve is already established, the proposed name change will be referred to the Board, along with any comments received about the name change.

A new marine reserve or extension is not proposed

The declaration of a new marine reserve or the extension of an existing marine reserve is not proposed.

This is not a conservation process as defined by section 47 of the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act 2011. In the spirit of that Act, however, the Director-General of Conservation is giving notice to affected iwi, hapū and whānau as part of this public notice.

Why the name change is proposed

Below is a statement from a kaumatua and spokesperson for Ngāti Hei:

"While the commonly referred to name for the Waikato Conservancy’s only Marine Reserve is Te Whanganui a Hei to which the “a” to the Harbour as a place and that the name of that place refers to the Ariki - “Hei”. The “a” is utilised in this case in the context of a geographical place, the place being a body of water or harbour (Whānga) named in memory of our eponymous ancestor Hei.

In Te Whanganui O Hei the “O” gives respect to our Ariki down from the ancestral line of descent from the male demigod Pūhaorangi and then on a few generations to Atuamatua and splits from that line to the well known ancestors of Houmaitawhiti (the Tuakana line of Tūhoromatakakā) Hei and his twin Tia (Ngāti Tūwharetoa)

The “O” in front of the name or pronoun denotes the senior, tuakana, Ariki, matāmua, chief, rangatira etc."

So from my experience the “Te Whanganui O Hei” expression of our ancestor is more appropriate than having mere geographical reference. Te Whanganui O Hei embodies the continued living progeny, memory, mauri, wairua, history and korero of our Ariki-Hei nui.”


Whanganui A Hei (Cathedral Cove) Marine Reserve is located near Hahei in the Coromandel.

Affected iwi, hapū or whānau

The Director-General of Conservation wishes to receive the advice of affected iwi, hapū or whanau on this name change proposal.

Affected iwi, hapū or whānau exercise kaitiakitanga in a part of the common marine and coastal area affected by the proposal.

Kaitiakitanga under the Takutai Moana Act means “the exercise of guardianship by the tangata whenua of an area in accordance with tikanga Māori in relation to natural and physical resources, and includes the ethic of stewardship.”

How to comment

Send your comments or advice to the Director-General of Conservation by 26 April 2022.

Your comments should include:

  1. your comments and advice on the proposed name change, and
  2. as appropriate, whether your iwi, hapū or whānau exercise katiakitanga in the affected area.

You’re welcome to include any additional information you think supports your comments.

You can send your comments by either email or post.


You’ll get a confirmation email to let you know we have received your comments.

Whitianga District Office
PO Box 276
Whitianga 3542
Attention: Nick Kelly, Operations Manager

Your comments may be released publicly

All comments are subject to the Official Information Act 1982 and can be released under that Act. If you have specific reasons for wanting to have your comments withheld, explain your reasons in the comment. Your reasons will be considered when making any assessment for the release of comments under the Official Information Act.

What happens next

After the period for comments close:

  • DOC staff, on behalf of the Director-General, will analyse and consider the views of all who made comments, including affected iwi, hapū and whanau, on the proposal to change the name.
  • the Director-General will advise the Minister of Conservation and the New Zealand Geographic Board of the comments made.
  • the Board will consider whether it will support the name change.
  • if the name change is supported, the Director-General will recommend to the Minister of Conservation the making of an amendment to the Marine Reserve (Whanganui A Hei (Cathedral Cove)) Order 1992.
  • if the Minister of Conservation considers an amendment is appropriate then an amending Order in Council will be prepared and is recommended to the Governor-General.
  • if the Order is made, the Board will change the official name of “Whanganui A Hei (Cathedral Cove) Marine Reserve” to “Te Whanganui-O-Hei (Cathedral Cove) Marine Reserve”.

As the process progresses DOC will keep you updated on this webpage.


If you have any questions contact us.


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