What are values?
Values are like firm beliefs. They are important to people. Not all values are the same. Everyone has slightly different values.
DOC’s education big picture values include: manaaki, mauri, tapu and mana.
- Manaaki means to look after and to care for. It is an important value when exploring marine reserves and protection.
- Mauri is a life force or energy which connects everything. It includes people, animals and the natural world.
- Tapu is about sacredness and restrictions.
- Mana means respect, power, authority, and relates to dignity. From the Māori world view, everything has mana within the natural world.
These values all play a part in marine protection.
- See: https://teara.govt.nz/en/te-ao-marama-the-natural-world/page-5.
- For information on DOC’s other big picture values, see: www.doc.govt.nz/what-is-conservation-education#big-picture.
Changing values to marine conservation in New Zealand
Most people living today can see the benefits of marine reserves and conservation. But that wasn’t always the case. Many New Zealanders have changed their thinking over time. From the 1840s to the 1930s, many people saw the ocean as a limitless source of food. They thought that human impacts on it could only ever be minimal. People saw fishing as a basic human right. Most did not accept the idea of conservation.
Even in the 1930s, the pressure on fishing stocks started to become clear. People had to go further to get an abundant catch. There were calls to regulate commercial fishing to conserve stocks into the future.
By the 1970s the impact of over-fishing was starting to show. People started to think about the benefits of protecting some marine areas. The introduction of laws and rules started to protect our fish stocks and marine resources.
Today there are many who accept the idea of a marine reserve network around New Zealand. People are beginning to understand the vulnerability of the ocean and its creatures.
- For a more detailed description of marine conservation and changes over time, see: https://teara.govt.nz/en/ marine-conservation/print.
History of the first New Zealand marine reserve
Professor Chapman from the University of Auckland first suggested the idea of a marine reserve in 1965. He wanted an area for scientific study. At that time, fishing or shellfish gathering could disturb marine experiments. The New Zealand Marine Department could see no reason to protect marine areas by law. They rejected the idea of a reserve.
Dr Bill Ballantine was one of the key people involved in the first no-take marine reserve at Leigh. This is the Cape Rodney-Okakari Point Marine Reserve, known as Goat Island. It took around 12 years of continual research and fighting. The area became legally protected in 1977. The no-take status was not a popular idea with everyone at the time. It is only now becoming clear just how important these protected marine areas are.
Marine reserves today
Today there are a total of 44 no-take marine reserves in New Zealand (as at July 2017). Other marine protected areas allow some activities such as recreational fishing. But these are much less effective than no-take reserves for the long-term benefits of vulnerable species. The first few marine reserves took decades and a lot of effort and evidence to put in place. In the past, there have been objections from recreational fishers about having marine reserves in their local fishing areas.
- Ready for a quiz? Try the Marine Reserves for Everyone activity.