Mimiwhangata has a long history of marine studies, being the first New Zealand underwater habitat mapped area in the 1960's. Comparisons of aerial photographs from the 1950's compared to recent photos show extensive loss of kelp forests, (see Kerr & Grace 2005 below). Comparisons on abundance of reef fish with it's nearest marine reserves and non protected areas show Mimiwhangata to be in the same degraded state as non protected areas as described here in an article by Dr Roger Grace. Yet Mimiwhangata Marine Park meets the MPA protection type 2 standard. See various monitoring reports listed in the download archive belowand the Shears et al. paper on partical protection. As a result of concerns about the poor results of partial protection marine park arrangement in 2005 a marine reserve discussion document was launched jointly between the local Hapu Te Iri o Hikihiki and DOC. This document can be view from our download archieve below.
In 2006 the Government announced that all marine reserve proposals that the DOC was involved in would be put on hold pending the formation of MPA Forum being established for that region. Eleven years on this has not happened and the marine life at Mimiwhangata continues in a degraded state.
To seek solutions to the challenges faced at Mimiwhangata, a working group supported by Mountains to Sea Conservation Trust and Forest and Bird has formed under the leadership of Hapu, Te Uri o Hikihiki proposal. Talks are continuing with Hapu and Iwi to apply to Government for a Rahui Tapu which is envisioned to use the Marine Reserves Act, but have special provisions setting up a management advisory committee which will be tasked to seek ways to meet the co-governance aspirations of the hapu on both land and water at Mimiwhangata. The proposal at time of writting is very close to be lodged with Government and is also envisioned to be an ideal test case for new provisions expected in the Government's proposed Marine Protected Areas Act which at this time has no set date for implementation.
A poster made from the studies of Vince Kerr and Roger Grace in the 2005 habitat mapping work (see report in document archive)
See the Forest and Bird article on the proposed Rahui Tapu for Miniwhangata
A dramatic example where the kina grazing has removed the nearly entire kelp community from the high tide level to the lower edge of the rocky reef
An aerial photo taken by Roger Grace showing the decline in kelp forest at Pa Point, Mimiwhangata
Mimiwhangata Document Archive