Bubba Thompson, a talented local carver from the Awarua Runanga was commissioned to design and carve the poupou marine reserve markers in Fiordland.


This commission, from the Fiordland Marine Guardians, was first mooted about three years ago when Stewart Bull, the group's iwi representative, approached Bubba with the idea of carving marine markers and erecting them along the coastline of Fiordland to mark protected marine reserves.

Bubba wishes to acknowledge master carver Cliff Whiting, whose influence and style has been incorporated into the poupou. In time, pamphlets will be available to people travelling through this area, giving information on the Māori names of each poupou and which tūpuna they represent.

Te Poupou o Rua o Te Moko (poupou) , 2014
Carved by Bubba Thompson
Wood carving
1,500 x 500 x 520 mm

The Fiordland Marine Guardians work to ensure that the quality of Fiordland’s marine environment and fisheries are maintained, or improved, for future generations to use and enjoy.

The Guardians are appointed by the Minister for the Environment under pioneering legislation that came into effect in 2005, the Fiordland (Te Moana o Atawhenua) Marine Management Act, the first of its kind in New Zealand.

Taumoana (Five Fingers Peninsula) and Moana Uta (Wet Jacket Arm) marine reserves are two of eight marine reserves in Fiordland established under this Act. 

A variety of marine management tools are in place around Dusky Sound to protect the underwater environment. These include marine reserves, areas where commercial fishing is excluded, and restrictions on anchoring.

The first Te Poupou o Rua o Te Moko (poupou) marine reserve markers were unveiled in a special ceremony in 2014. The poupou stand as kaitiaki (guardians) of the marine reserves and are symbols of the Māori ancestral connections to the area. They are individually named after the deities, explorers, whānau and whānui who left their mark on the area previously, and commemorate their stories, ensuring they are shared with generations of visitors.

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