DOC is monitoring the changes in the Te Matuku Marine Reserve to learn how the marine reserve status has helped sea life.

A range of monitoring has been carried out at the Te Matuku Marine Reserve since its establishment, along with earlier surveys carried out at the time the reserve was proposed.

Internal biota of Te Matuku Bay 1996

Cockle shells.
Cockle shells

The Te Matuku Bay area was surveyed in 1996 at the request of Forest and Bird as part of an investigation into the suitability of the site as a marine reserve. This small study documented the intertidal habitat and biota of the area.

Findings indicated that the flora and fauna or the intertidal communities are similar to those encountered around the middle and upper Waitemata Harbour, except for the abundance at Te Matuku Bay of the tube worm Pomatoceros caeruleus. The study also noted the presence of exotics such as the Pacific Oyster, asian mussel and other introduced species.  

The study found a diverse habitat including mangrove forest, saltmarsh, greywacke rock and gravel beaches, mud and sand flats, as well as two sandy shell spits used as nesting sites by the endangered NZ dotterel.

Dense populations of cockles (over 500 per square metre) were found in the sand and mud flats. Crustaceans, a key dietary component of wading birds, were found to have healthy populations and a population of Upogebia (mud shrimp) was noted to have brood females of extremely large size (claw length 14-22mm).

In total 97 species of Mollusca (7 chitons, 52 gastropods, 38 bivalves), 33 Crustacea (8 amphipods, 4 barnacles, 18 decapods) and 10 Echinodermata (3 echinoids, 3 ophiuroids and 3 asteroids) were recorded in Te Matuku Bay.

View full survey report

Hauraki Gulf Forum Community Shellfish Monitoring Programme

The Hauraki Gulf Forum Community Shellfish Monitoring Programme was established in 2006. The programme currently monitors shellfish populations at 15 beaches around the Hauraki Gulf. A variety of shellfish are recorded. However, the focus is on the dominant species, which in most cases is cockles.

The shellfish monitoring programme is conducted by 600 volunteers from schools, community groups and iwi with the support of councils and DOC. Analysis of the data collected is completed by the Ministry of Fisheries.

Hauraki Gulf Forum Community Shellfish Monitoring Programme

Te Matuku shellfish monitoring 2009 - 2011   

In 2009/10 the cockle population at Te Matuku Bay was reported as stable, with a small increase in numbers, but a decrease in average size. In 2010/11 the cockle population had further increased in numbers and the average size had also increased. The fluctuation in size is possibly a result of different rates fo larval settlement then growing through into the population. 

View Hauraki Gulf Forum Community Shellfish Monitoring Programme Annual Report 2010-11

Other research and monitoring

The Te Matuku Marine Reserve has been included in studies into accoustic seabed mapping.


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