The Hauraki Gulf, known by many as Tikapa Moana and by others as Te Moananui ā Toi, is a national taonga. It has been valued by people ever since the first waka navigated its waters many centuries ago. It is one of New Zealand’s earliest places of human settlement. For generations it has supported and been home to mana whenua.
Stretching from Mangawhai, north of Auckland, to Waihi on the Coromandel Peninsula, the Hauraki Gulf covers 1.2 million hectares of ocean. It is one of New Zealand’s most valued and intensively used resources – for food gathering, recreation and conservation. It is also a significant economic asset, generating more than $2.7 billion in economic activity every year, including aquaculture, fishing, tourism, shipping and ferry transport.
The Hauraki Gulf is home to a rich diversity of seabirds, whales, dolphins, fisheries, and unique undersea habitats. It contains important nature sanctuaries, five marine reserves and more than 50 islands, including Kawau, Aotea/Great Barrier, Waiheke and Ahuahu/Great Mercury. In 2000, it was designated New Zealand's first marine park, due to its national significance.
This vast and diverse space has been extensively researched, studied and documented. To find out more about this national treasure, read our series of Gulf factsheets or visit the Hauraki Gulf Forum page on the Auckland Council website. It has a wealth of information and publications giving great insight into how the gulf is used and enjoyed – and on the pressures it faces as an ecosystem bordering New Zealand’s largest and fastest-growing urban area.