Seabirds of the Hauraki Gulf: Natural History, Research and Conservation
Chris Gaskin & Matt Rayner
First published in 2013, revised version released in 2017
Commissioned and published by the Hauraki Gulf Forum
This is a landmark report about a region of top priority for New Zealand and of outstanding international importance. It is widely appreciated that New Zealand is the seabird capital of the world (which also testifies to the importance of its marine ecosystems generally). However, it is much less recognised that the Hauraki Gulf is one of New Zealand’s outstanding areas of seabird and marine biodiversity – right up there with the Subantarctic islands and the Kermadecs. Moreover, what is unique about the Hauraki Gulf is that it contains a massive Marine Park, itself containing five marine reserves and an exceptional suite of islands, all on the doorstep of the largest metropolis in the South Pacific!
In this strategic plan we present an overview of current knowledge regarding twenty-seven seabird species breeding in the region, including their breeding habitat and provide recommendations to protect seabird species and enhance our understanding of them and their habitats. We stress the need for multi-disciplinary broadscale long-term studies into ecosystem processes; integration with both spatial planning and threat/risk mapping for the region; advocating for greater awareness of seabirds, their ecology including dispersal post-breeding as well as the multiple threats they face; for greater collaboration between researchers, government agencies, tangata whenua and community groups.
At a time when marine habitats worldwide are under intense pressure, compounded by the growing concern that governments, agencies and corporations are reducing commitments to improving (let alone restoring) the natural environment, it is encouraging to see evidence here of new partnerships, ideas and enthusiasm to try to secure the future of one of New Zealand’s most iconic areas, the Hauraki Gulf.