Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication. 


DOC is consulting on a sustainable management proposal for the Ruakaka Wildlife Refuge that aims to balance the protection of native species and habitats with the impacts of recreational use and population growth.

Date:  12 November 2010

The Department of Conservation has a statutory obligation to protect native species, and some especially important sites are protected by the wildlife refuge status, which prohibits certain activities that can cause disturbance.

New Zealand dotterel. Photo: R Cole.
New Zealand dotterel

The Ruakaka Wildlife Refuge is facing significant challenges in trying to balance the protection of native species and habitats, while minimising disturbance from recreational users.

To add to these pressures, it is expected that the population of Ruakaka will grow considerably in the future, therefore the impact of this growth on the wildlife refuge needs to be planned for and sustainably managed. 

The Ruakaka Wildlife Refuge is a unique habitat and a very special place. Just two of the many species found there include the bar-tailed godwit, a species that annually migrates all the way to Alaska and the Northern New Zealand dotterel, an endangered species with eggs and chicks so well camouflaged that they are hard to see.
The sustainable management proposal that the Department is considering includes several changes to the refuge. The first proposed measure is to extend the Ruakaka Wildlife Refuge boundary to cover the whole of the estuary mouth, introduce a proclamation restricting high-impact recreational uses within the wildlife refuge, develop a walking route from the Ruakaka campground to the ocean and erect temporary fencing around roost sites at key times.

To ensure that the management proposal is in alignment with the goals and aspirations of the wider community, the Department will undertake a public consultation and awareness campaign. This will happen over the summer period and involve providing information to community members and groups, undertaking a survey, campground and beach user advocacy in the form of handouts, posters, education days, media articles and more.

Locals and visitors are encouraged to take care in and around the wildlife refuge, especially because it is nesting season, and always obey the signage. For kite boarders, here are some alternative locations:

  • Mair Road: NE-E-SE-S-SSW winds
  • Power Station: NE-E-SE winds
  • Ruakaka Race Course: NE-E-SE winds
  • Uretiti Beach / Tip Road: NNW-N-NE-E-SE winds
  • Marsden Bay: NW-N-NNE winds
  • One Tree Point Sand Bar: W-N-NNE winds
  • Karoro Road, One Tree Point: SW-W-NW winds

To report an environment issue on public conservation land, especially within a wildlife refuge call 0800 DOC HOT or 0800 362 468. During office hours contact

Whangarei Office
Phone:   +64 9 470 3300
Fax:   +64 4 471 1117
Address:   2 South End Ave
Whangarei 0110
Postal Address:   PO Box 842
Whangarei 0140


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