Date: 30 September 2015
The Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary will be one of the world’s largest and most significant fully-protected areas. At 620,000 km2 it will be twice the size of New Zealand's landmass, and 50 times the size of our largest national park.
The sanctuary will preserve important habitats for seabirds, whales and dolphins, endangered marine turtles and thousands of species of fish and other marine life.
Kermadec petrel. Photo: Brook Whylie, NZ Birds Online.
Kingfish. Photo: Malcolm Francis NIWA.
Galapagos shark. Photo: Malcolm Francis NIWA.
Humpback whale. Photo: Malcolm Francis NIWA.
The Kermadec area is home to...
Six million seabirds of 39 different species, ranging from tiny storm petrels to large wandering albatrosses.
Over 150 species of fish. 32% of all the fish species known in New Zealand are from the Kermadec area.
Up to 35 species of dolphin and (including the blue whale) migrate through the area.
More than 250 species of corals and tiny animals called bryozoans have been found in the region.
Three of the world's seven sea turtle species are found in the Kermadec area (hawksbill, leatherback and green turtles). They are all endangered or critically endangered.
More than 30 submarine volcanoes (the world's longest chain of underwater volcanoes). It also contains the second deepest ocean trench in the world. At ten kilometres, that's deeper than Mount Everest is tall.
And probably other new and rare species – because large areas are virtually unexplored it's likely that future surveys will reveal even more species that call this place home.
Hawkesbill turtle. Photo: Malcolm Francis NIWA.
Spotted black grouper. Photo: Malcolm Francis NIWA.