Goat Island

Image: Piotr Zurek | Creative Commons


Cape Rodney-Okakari Point lies north of Auckland. The marine reserve offers some of the best snorkelling and scuba diving opportunities close to Auckland. Visitors can also enjoy swimming, kayaking and walking on the beach.


Place overview


  • Toilets
  • Information panels


  • Boating
  • Diving and snorkelling
  • Kayaking and canoeing
  • Walking and tramping
  • No dogs allowed

    To protect our native widlife, dogs are not allowed anywhere in this place.

  • Protect our marine reserves
    • No fishing of any kind.
    • Don't take or kill marine life.
    • Don't remove or disturb any marine life or materials.
    • Don't feed fish - it disturbs their natural behaviour.
    • Take care when anchoring to avoid damaging the sea floor.

In this section

Find things to do and places to stay Cape Rodney-Okakari Point Marine Reserve (Goat Island)

About this place

Nature and conservation

Extending from Cape Rodney to Okakari Point, the marine reserve includes the waters 800 m from shore including Te Hāwere-a-Maki/Goat Island.

The University of Auckland's Leigh Marine Laboratory is based next to the reserve. Its scientists make regular studies to discover how a marine ecosystem functions without harvesting or intervention. Be careful around any scientific equipment you may come across in the reserve.

Beneath the waves you may see seaweed forests, sponge gardens, and all the creatures of the rocky shore. The fish in the reserve are abundant and friendly.  

Find out how the marine reserve status has helped sea life in the area.

History and culture

Motu Hāwere is of central importance to the identity of Ngāti Manuhiri. The area is an iconic reminder of the early origins of Ngāti Manuhiri and their links with the earlier iwi of the area - Wakatūwhenua being the landing place of the Moekakara waka captained by Tahuhunuiarangi.

Motu Hāwere which shelters Wakatūwhenua, has the longer traditional name of Te Hāwere ā Maki. This sacred name is associated with Maki who led the conquest of the area in the late seventeenth century. Maki was the father of Manuhiri, the founding ancestor of Ngāti Manuhiri. The mana and mauri of this name and landmark, and the waters that surround it, is thus of immense significance to the iwi. The island was occupied as a pā by the Ngāti Manuhiri warrior ancestor Maeaea, who was a grandson of Manuhiri. It was on the basis of descent from Maeaea that Ngāti Manuhiri received title to Motu Hāwere in 1901.

The adjoining land was maintained as a kāinga and cultivation by Ngāti Manuhiri for many generations until after early European settlement. The land, known as the Wakatūwhenua Block, part of which forms the Leigh Recreation Reserve, was specifically reserved from sale to the Crown at the request of the Ngāti Manuhiri rangatira Te Kiri in 1861.

Getting there

The marine reserve is about one and a half hours’ drive north of Auckland, near Leigh. Take SH1 to Warkworth and follow the Goat Island Marine Reserve signs.

Know before you go

The marine reserve is unsuitable for in-the-water activities during east or north-east winds of 20 knots or more, and east or north-east swells of more than a metre.

Dogs are not allowed on foreshore areas of the marine reserve.


Tāmaki Makaurau / Auckland Visitor Centre
Phone:   +64 9 379 6476
Fax:   +64 4 471 1117
Email:   aucklandvc@doc.govt.nz
Address:   Shop2, Shed 19, Princes Wharf
137 Princes Wharf
Auckland 1010
Postal Address:   PO Box 105 469
Auckland City 1143
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