A new era for Kaipara Moana

With $100 million of Government funding committed over the next six years and a joint Kaipara Uri-council partnership nearing sign-off, restoration of New Zealand’s largest harbour has reached a pivotal turning point.

“Environmental remediation unlike any ever seen in Aotearoa” is how the decade-long programme to restore the health and mauri of Kaipara Moana has been described.

To be led by an equal partnership between Kaipara Uri (tangata whenua descended from Kaipara Moana) and councils (Auckland and Northland Regional), the programme acknowledges the special nature of the harbour and aims to restore its vitality by halving the sediment loss from land to sea.

Water quality in the harbour has been steadily deteriorating from the halcyon era of native timber extraction, through to contemporary land use where large volumes of sediment (eroded soil) wash off the land.

About 807km2 of the land in the Kaipara catchment is classified as ‘highly erodible’.

Expected environmental benefits arising from the programme include improved freshwater quality, greater biodiversity, resilience from climate change, and carbon capture through tree planting and wetland management.

The programme also recognises that overall wellbeing for Kaipara Uri and local communities and is deeply connected to the wellbeing of the Kaipara Moana.

We’re thrilled to be part of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make a real difference to the iconic nature of Kaipara Moana for current and successive generations.

Did you know?

  • Kaipara Moana is of immense traditional, cultural, historical and spiritual importance – it is a taonga to tangata whenua.
  • Kaipara is the largest harbour in the Southern Hemisphere, with a surface area of 950km2 (at high tide) and a catchment area of over 6000km2.
  • It is believed the first migration to Kaipara Moana was around 1200-1400AD. The ancient Polynesian sailing vessel Māhuhu-ki-te-rangi landed on the foreshores of the Kaipara around the 1200s, under the command of Rongomai and his father Whakatau.
  • Kaipara became a busy timber harbour from the 1860s, shipping thousands of tonnes of kauri timber and gum. As kauri ran out, the gum and timber industries declined, and after 1920, farming (mainly dairying) took over.
  • Today there’s more than 3700km2 of pastoral land in the Kaipara catchment and more than 8100km2 of waterways on pastoral land.
  • The Kaipara provides significant breeding grounds and habitats for juvenile fish. In any one year, over 90% of snapper caught commercially off the west coast of New Zealand are from the Kaipara.
  • The Kaipara – which is broad and mostly shallow – is also a migratory bird habitat of international significance.
Views down the Kaipara Harbour.

Views down the Kaipara Harbour.