A korowai for Kaikōura

Department of Conservation —  11/08/2014

New Zealand’s largest and deepest marine reserve, along with our first whale sanctuary and our first seal sanctuary, came into effect on Friday.

Kaikōura with marine reserve in the background.

Kaikōura with marine reserve in the background.

Five new customary fishing areas, and more sustainable recreational fishing regulations, were also established.

Humpback whale. Photo: Ann McCaw.

Humpback whales pass through Kaikōura on their northern winter migration

The journey began nearly 10 years ago with the establishment of Te Korowai o Te Tai ō Marokura, a group of local people and agencies who recognised that Kaikōura’s magnificent and valuable marine environment was under pressure.

Hutton’s shearwater/tītī. Photo: Graeme A Taylor.

Hutton’s shearwater/tītī

A korowai is a chiefly cloak laid over something to protect and care for it.

The sanctuaries, marine reserve, and fisheries management tools established are each strands of an interwoven cloak that cares for the Kaikōura (Te Tai ō Marokura) Marine Management Area.

Dusky dolphins. Photo: Caroline Wilkins.

Large pods of dusky dolphins live in the vicinity of the Kaikōura Canyon

Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu Kaiwhakahaere, Chairman of Te Rūnanga o Kaikōura and Te Korowai member, Tā Mark Solomon says:

“The negotiations were long and hard, but for me the whole process was a beautiful expression of community. I think the whole of New Zealand could look at this as an example of how communities can come together to look after their resources for themselves and their children,” he says.

Dusk at Kaikoura. Photo: Katrin-Lena | flickr | CC BY-ND 2.0.


Mā te whakapūmau i te mauri me te wairua o “Te Tai ō
Marokura”, ko mātou ngā kaitiaki o ngā taonga a Tangaroa
kei te arataki i te iwi hapori, ki te whakangaruru i te
momona me te waiora o te āhuatanga o te Taiao, mo ngā
whakatipuranga o aianei me ake tonu ake.

By perpetuating the mauri and wairua of Te Tai ō Marokura
we as kaitiaki of Tangaroa’s tāonga are leading the community to achieve a
flourishing, rich and healthy environment where opportunities
abound to sustain the needs of present and future generations.

(The vision of Te Korowai o Te Tai ō Marokura)

2 responses to A korowai for Kaikōura


    There has obviously been a lot of thought and work that has gone into getting this marine reserve and the Taiapures etc up and running. However there doesn’t seem to have been that much publicity and signage to let the public know what, where and when its all happening. The info on the DOC website is very showy and glitzy but not particularly user friendly and i would hazard a guess that it may miss a good deal of the target audience. I also wonder how practical it is going to be to police as it sounds like a mammoth task for MAF. – Good luck.


      Kia ora Wayne,

      Thanks for your comment. While the Te Korowai process was long and fruitful, the scheduling and passing of the Act was faster than we expected. As a result, some of the normal education tools have yet to be put in place. We are working on it:

      • DOC has supplied brochures describing the Te Korowai Marine Protected Areas to local dive and fishing shops, and fishing clubs (more are coming soon). And we have worked with the media to get the word out.
      • Signage at boat launching sites will be in place soon.
      • We will work with the local community and MPI to create a summer education campaign for the Kaikoura area.
      • And we are investigating options for cellphone apps to assist people using the marine environment either in or near the Marine Protected Areas.

      We believe that the broad community support which exists for marine protection will provide a level of self-policing of Te Korowai, though we do not intend to rely on this. There will be physical MPI and DOC enforcement.


      Sean Cooper
      Marine Ecosystem Manager
      Aquatic and Reporting Unit