The boundaries of the sanctuary extend alongshore from Maunganui Bluff in Northland to Oakura Beach, Taranaki, in the south.

The sanctuary’s offshore boundary extends from mean high water springs to the 12 nm territorial sea limit. The total area of the sanctuary is approximately 1,200,086 ha covering 2,164 km of coastline.

The sanctuary was established in 2008 as a part of the Hector’s and Māui dolphin Threat Management Plan. Within the sanctuary boundaries restrictions were placed on seabed mining activities and acoustic seismic survey work. The 2008 NZ Gazette notice for this marine mammal sanctuary specifies the areas in which these restrictions apply.

Sanctuary users guide (PDF, 7,787K)

Variation to the sanctuary

In 2013, The Minister, Hon Dr. Nick Smith, varied the sanctuary to prohibit commercial and recreational set net fishing between 2 and 7 nautical miles offshore between Pariokariwa Point and the Waiwhakaiho River, Taranaki under the Marine Mammals Protection Act 1978. The area covers 350 sq km of the sanctuary. 

The purpose of the variation is to provide greater protection to Māui dolphin from the risks resulting from set net fishing (commercial and recreational). This decision was made following a public submission process.

View a map and information about the variation consultation.

Marine mammal protection

All marine mammals are fully protected in New Zealand waters under the Marine Mammals Protection Act 1978, which DOC administers.

If you see marine mammals stranded or in distress, please contact your nearest DOC office immediately or call 0800 DOC HOT (0800 362 468).

Find out what to do if you see a Māui dolphin.

Notices and maps

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