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Motiti Protection Area:
Using the Resource Management Act (RMA) to protect a reef eco-system.

When developing the draft Bay of Plenty Regional Coastal Environment Plan a submission made by Motiti Rohe Moana was that the RMA could be used to protect the reef system around Motiti Island. After lengthy court proceedings which went to the Court of Appeal, the Regional Council was directed to protect the three reef eco system areas identified in the plan.

The court decision directed that the damage, destruction or removal of flora and fauna within the three marked areas of Motiti Natural Environment Management Area, namely Otaiti (Astrolabe), Okarapu, Te Papa (Brewis), Motuhaku (Schooner Rocks), & Motuhau (Plate Island) in the proposed Regional Coastal Environment Plan shall be prohibited.

On the 11 August 2021 the rule became operative, and the "Motiti Protection Area" came into existence.

This was the first marine protection area of its type identified under the Resource Management Act. Regional Council held several meetings to inform the public and quell deep rooted concerns of the fishing fraternity who saw its establishment as a regulatory authority overstepping their boundaries.

This presentation will look at the history of how the Motiti Protection Area came about, the legal difficulty in evidence gathering and what compliance monitoring looks like within an open and exposed coastal environment


Thursday 2 November



John Morris
Snr Regulartory Compliance Officer, Bay of Plenty Regional Council


I have 20 years' service with Bay of Plenty Regional Council and are based at the Port of Tauranga. My role has extended not only to Regulatory Compliance but also the Harbour Masters team providing advice on the discharge of vessels entering our waters. A keen fisherperson I was picked to develop, resource and execute an effective monitoring campaign for the Motiti Protection Area. 


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