Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary announced 

Champagne corks popped as the news was released that the Kermadec region has become an ocean sanctuary. Kermadec campaigners Forest & Bird, The Pew Charitable Trusts, and WWF-New Zealand were together when they heard the news.


Galapagos Shark (Photo by Malcolm Francis)

The Prime Minister John Key made the momentous announcement at the United Nations General Assembly in New York. The creation of the Sanctuary once again puts New Zealand at the forefront of marine protection on the international stage.

The Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary is located in the South Pacific Ocean about 1,000 km northeast of the Bay of Plenty New Zealand. The area is one of the most geologically diverse in the world. It contains the world’s longest chain of submerged volcanoes and the second deepest ocean trench with a depth of 10 kilometres.

Forest & Bird’s Anton van Helden says the announcement is “pretty dammed exciting and a conservation highlight for us all”.

“This is an announcement that all New Zealanders can take pride in”, said Bronwen Golder, Director of The Pew Global Ocean Legacy Kermadec Campaign.

“This is a special day. This ocean sanctuary is a major achievement and is testament to many years of hard work by thousands of New Zealanders, “Chris Howe, Chief Executive of WWF New Zealand.

The Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary covers 620,000 square kilometres and is one of the most pristine marine environments left in the world and is 35 times larger than the combined area of New Zealand’s existing marine reserves, twice the size of our landmass and 50 times the size of our largest national park.

It’s one of the most geologically diverse marine habitats in the world. It’s an important breeding and feeding ground for a variety of seabirds, whales and dolphins, turtles, and an extraordinary variety of fish and invertebrates like corals, crustaceans, and molluscs.