Each day during the month of April, the Institute will feature one of the 30 ‘perspectives’ from the One Ocean report. These short articles include a diverse range of views regarding oceans management in New Zealand. Enjoy!


Raewyn Peart, Policy Director, Environmental Defence Society (EDS)

Marine spatial planning 

New Zealand’s marine jurisdiction is vast and enormously rich in life and resources. Managed well, it will remain highly productive and sustain future generations of New Zealanders. But managed poorly, its riches will be diminished. Unfortunately, we are struggling to achieve effective management of our marine environment with fragmented, case-by-case decision-making being the norm.

Marine spatial planning offers a promising solution. It provides a strategic approach to proactively planning for the future use of our marine environment. At its heart is a concern to protect the underlying ‘ecological backbone’, or productivity, of the marine area. But it also seeks to reduce conflict and maximise synergies,providing greater certainty on where marine activities can and cannot locate.

The first marine spatial planning project in New Zealand has been under way for over 15 months. Seachange – Tai Timu Tai Pari is breaking new ground in New Zealand and internationally. The project is taking a fully integrated catchment-to-the-sea approach, with a focus on addressing the key drivers of ongoing degradation of the Hauraki Gulf marine area. It has adopted a co-governance model, with half the membership of the governance group consisting of mana whenua. Seachange has also embraced collaboration, with the plan being developed by an independently chaired stakeholder working group operating on a consensus model.

The impacts of the Hauraki Gulf initiative are likely to be wide reaching. We could see a strengthened governance model to deliver the promise of the spatial plan in the Hauraki Gulf as well as legislative change to provide for marine spatial planning in other parts of our marine space.

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