Te Angiangi Marine Reserve protects a piece of the central Hawke's Bay coast.


Te Angiangi Marine Reserve represents a typical stretch of the central Hawke’s Bay coastline, and is well used by the local community. It takes in the coast between Aramoana and Blackhead, with camping grounds at both ends of the reserve, and plentiful bach accommodation.

Place overview


  • Bird and wildlife watching
  • Boating
  • Diving and snorkelling
  • Swimming
  • Marine reserves
    Protect our marine reserves

    They are special places that protect the species and habitats within them.

    • 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
    • Call 0800 DOC HOT (0800 362 468) to report any illegal activity

In this section

Find things to do Te Angiangi Marine Reserve


Diving and snorkelling

The marine reserve is well suited to shore diving. The best places for beginners to snorkel are the sheltered waters of Stingray Bay and Shelly Bay. During calm conditions experienced snorkel and scuba divers will have no difficulty swimming off the edge of the intertidal rock platform.

There are about 138 ha of reef to explore. The most spectacular underwater scenery is found in depths of 9-15 m south of Aramoana. Dense Ecklonia kelp forest covers most of the reef, which is broken in places by long sandy guts. The kelp forest provides habitat for a thriving community of common reef animals.

Colourful nudibranchs (sea slugs) and large schools of butterfly perch and tarakihi are found at depths of 24-36 m on the Boulder Bank, or Sponge Garden. This community is dominated by finger sponges and red seaweeds. Several types of fish, including sea perch, scarlet wrasse, large blue cod and common roughy are more abundant here than anywhere else in the reserve.

Bird and wildlife watching

At low tide many types of birds take advantage of rich feeding areas on the intertidal platforms. Kingfishers, gulls, herons, variable oyster catchers, pied stilts and flocks of eastern bar-tailed godwits are common. At high tide small flocks of gulls, white-fronted terns and Caspian terns can be viewed roosting on the sand at the mouths of small streams. Banded dotterels can also be seen on some of the beaches.


Boats can be launched with the aid of a 4WD vehicle or tractor from the beach at Blackhead, Aramoana or Pourerere. Divers wishing to explore the deeper parts of the reserve will find access easiest by boat.

Boats should slow to less than five knots and stay at least 50 m away from seals, dolphins or whales. Do not take your boat through the middle of a pod of dolphins or whales and avoid making sudden course changes. When leaving, do not accelerate until you are well away from them.

Investigating rock pools, Te Angiangi Marine Reserve. Photo: Catherine Tiffen.
Investigating rock pools, Te Angiangi Marine Reserve


Rockpooling is a popular activity at Te Angiangi. On the large tidal platform you may see octopus, crayfish, and wandering anemones among many other species, including migratory wading birds.

When exploring the rock pools, return any rocks you look under to their original position. This will help protect the plants and animals living on and under them. Also avoid walking on the eel grass beds. Trampling will kill these plants and result in the sand trapped around them being washed away.


The best places for swimming are the sheltered waters of Stringray Bay at low tide and Shelly Bay.

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    About this place

    Nature and conservation

    At low tide a broad mudstone platform is exposed, revealing beds of Neptune’s necklace, pink coralline seaweeds, and patches of sea grass mixed with a lively rockpool community of fish and shellfish, including golden limpets.

    Offshore the interplay of the warm East Cape current and the colder South Wairarapa current means many typically ‘northern’ and ‘southern’ marine species occur in the reserve.  Sometimes these can even be seen swimming together, or sheltering in the same crevice. Rock lobsters are conspicuous.

    In April 2011 a heavy rainfall event coincided with a shallow  magnitute 4.5 earthquake, resulting in inundation of the rock platform by 14 landslides. In places landslides covered the full width of the platform (more than 100 m), completely burying or sweeping away the biological communities living there. Within a few months however relentless wave action had begun to uncover the platform, and positive signs of recovery were evident throughout the intertidal zone. A couple of years later, the reserve had almost completely recovered.

    History and culture

    The name of the reserve was chosen by Ngati Kere to honour local history. When Ngati Kahungunu settled the region, central Hawke's Bay was divided between Te Aomatarahi and Taraia.

    Te Aomatarahi, a descendent of Porangahau, was given the lands east of Tukituki River and mana whenua passed to his descendents Tu Mapuhiarangi and Te Angiangi. The area covered by the mana of Te Angiangi included what is now the marine reserve.

    Getting there

    Turn off State Highway 2 at Waipawa or Waipukurau. The drive will take approximately 30 minutes from either town. From Waipawa follow Pourere and Gibraltar roads to Aramoana. From Waipukurau follow Farm, Motere and Long Range roads to Blackhead.

    Know before you go


    There is evidence of widespread poaching at Te Angiangi Marine Reserve. As at 2013, 20% of marine reserve convictions nationally were for fishing here.

    The extent of poaching has compromised scientific study and the integrity of Te Angiangi’s ecosystem.

    Report offences to the Department of Conservation on +64 6 759 0350 (office hours), or the 24 hour conservation emergency hotline 0800 DOC HOT (0800 362 468).

    The rules

    All plant and animal life, alive or dead, in the marine reserve is totally protected. No fishing, seaweed or shellfish gathering is allowed. The reefs and sea floor are also protected so nothing can be removed from the reserve.

    It is illegal to discharge any firearm, or any substance which may harm, or threaten plant and animal life in, or into the marine reserve. It is also illegal to release any plant or animal into the reserve which does not naturally occur there.

    Horses and motor vehicles can be ridden or driven along the sand at the top of the rock platform but are not permitted on the rocky areas below mean high water.

    Avoid disturbing wildlife. Birds and marine mammals should be observed from a distance and dogs kept on a leash at all times.


    Ahuriri / Napier Office
    Phone:   +64 6 834 3111
    Address:   59 Marine Parade
    Napier 4110
    Full office details
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