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


DOC is proceeding with bylaws to ensure public safety and protect the public conservation land on six reserves at Whangarei Heads and Bream Bay.

Date:  22 September 2015

The new bylaws will be notified in the NZ Gazette and the Regulations Series in November and in place by Christmas 2015. 

“Bylaws are essentially rules that people must follow when visiting these public spaces and gives DOC the authority to more easily enforce these rules.  The bylaws will not affect anyone who is demonstrating common sense and courtesy, undertaking approved work or a concession activity,” says Sue Reed-Thomas, Northland Partnerships Manager, DOC.

“There have been a few incidents over the years that the bylaws would have been useful in helping us protect the public and the natural values of a site – including a New Years Eve rave at Uretiti Recreation Reserve which close to 3000 people attended and persistent rubbish dumping and vehicles accessing and degrading the dunes,” says Sue.

The bylaws are designed to control such things as drunken and disorderly behaviour; unruly meetings and gatherings; unauthorised camping, vehicle use, noise, lighting of fires; water wastage and bringing domestic animals onto  reserves without authorisation.  The bylaws would give DOC staff the ability to warn, and where necessary, take enforcement proceedings which may result in a maximum fine of $250 for people who breach the bylaws.

In 2009 DOC established bylaws to ensure public safety and protect the natural and historic values in a number of reserves. During this process a number of reserves could not be included as they didn’t have the correct naming and classification.  This process is now complete and the bylaws can proceed.

List of reserves where the new bylaws will apply:

  • Ocean Beach Recreation Reserve
  • Bream Islands Scenic Reserve
  • Motukiore Island Recreation Reserve
  • Poupouwhenua Scenic Reserve
  • Ruakaka Scenic Reserve
  • Uretiti Scenic Reserve

See a map of the new bylaw reserves (PDF, 1,002K)

Background information

Bylaw process of notification

  • DOC informs stakeholders, the public and other departments that may be affected, including the Ministry of Justice. 
  • The proposed bylaws go to the Parliamentary Counsel for approval and sign-off by the Minister of Conservation.  
  • The bylaws are then published in the NZ Gazette and the Regulations Series. 
  • They come into effect 28 days after their notification in the Gazette.

Naming of reserves in Bream Bay

The Department requested assistance from the local hapu, Patuharakeke to name the reserves on the Bream Bay coastline. They provided the names Poupouwhenua, Ruakaka and Uretiti. The Department consulted with community in 2011 over the proposed names, which resulted in these names being fully supported.


This area was named Poupouwhenua by ancestors of Patuharakeke hapu and recorded by surveyors approximately 150 years ago.

Poupouwhenua alludes to guardianship of the land and in this case applies to Patuharakeke, a hapu of Ngati Manaia and conglomeration of many descent lines of Te Taitokerau.

Poupouwhenua Scenic Reserve extends from Mair Road to Sime Road.


Literally translated, the terms ‘rua’ and ‘kaka’ conjoined as they are, can mean ‘a place where the kaka parrot hides, as in ‘burrows or secretes itself’.  The kaka is a bird that was employed by our tupuna as a ‘decoy’ or ‘distracter’ whereby they would attract other birds attention by their animated actions and lure them into a trap where they would then be ensnared.  The kaka is also a metaphor for chiefs, and their plumage was employed in cloak making and weapons of war for those warriors of the highest rank.

The name would certainly apply to Patuharakeke hapu who it is known were the first of the northern tribes to bear the brunt of any marauding war parties from the south and in effect fulfilled the all important function of ‘distracting’ the main onslaught until other tribes could marshal their forces.

Ruakaka Scenic Reserves extends from Sime Road to the northern boundary of the Uretiti Recreation Reserve (DOC Uretiti campground)


We have no advice on the meaning of Uretiti, but it is a name that has been in common usage for a long period of time as was known to predate colonisation.

Uretiti Scenic Reserve extends from the northern boundary of the Uretiti Recreation Reserve (DOC Uretiti campground) to the northern boundary of the Waipu Wildlife Refuge.


Abigail Monteith, Partnerships Ranger
Whangarei Office
Phone: +64 9 470 3313

Back to top