Guardians of the Kāpiti Marine Reserve


The Guardians of Kapiti Marine Reserve (GoKMR) trust represents a local community network of marine users, recreational and commercial fishers, boaties, divers, marine scientists, educators and conservationists

Our members have a shared interest in the management, protection and enhancement of the Kapiti Marine Reserve and surrounding environment.  We are working to build our community’s connections to and sense of pride and ownership toward our local marine environment.  We wish to support our community to work together as Kaitiaki (Guardians) for our marine environment with a strong voice and direct involvement in management decisions at a local and national level that affect our precious and unique marine space. 

GoKMR are working closely with the Department of Conservation (DoC) to provide community input into the management of Kapiti Marine Reserve and we are also building our connections with our local and regional councils and with central government agencies that have a management role or interest in the Kapiti marine space.  

GoKMR have a committee that meets regularly to co-ordinate our activities and liaise with government agencies such as DoC to ensure the management needs of the reserve are being met. Our recent activities include:

– Organized a public hui in September 2016 to provide an opportunity for community input into the management of the Kapiti marine reserve and surrounding marine environment 

– GoKMR participated in and are members of DoC’s Waikanae River Corridor Restoration Working Group and the GWRC Kapiti Bio-diversity hui

– Collaboration with KCDC Library staff to organize a Kapiti Marine Reserve display at Paraparaumu library and a talk about the Kapiti Marine Reserve by Marine Biologist and Author Chris Paulin as part of the KCDC Waitangi Lecture Series earlier this year 

– On-going liaison with DoC regarding community based compliance and enforcement work

– Regular articles in the local news media and on facebook regarding our activities and concerns

– Organized a summer science lecture series featuring talks by local marine scientists and conservation advocates with a special focus on research involving or issues affecting Kapiti Marine Reserve

– In-water monitoring and research activities including the hunt for the black coral, comparative/inside-outside video projects, baseline surveys, a bio-blitz and a recreational fishing survey are all in the pipeline for the coming months and beyond

– Engagement with Experiencing Marine Reserves (EMR) program and on-going investigation of the options to offer this fantastic educational program to our local schools here in Kapiti with a pilot program currently underway with a class of 30 students from Waikanae Primary school

– Given talks about KMR to a number of local schools and community groups

– Raised awareness of and secured commitment from DoC to repair damaged marine reserve boundary markers

– Regular contact with our local KCDC Mayor, KCDC and GWRC Councilors and KCDC Community Board members to raise awareness of the issues facing the marine reserve and to secure local govt support for our activities

– Plans are underway for the Kapiti Marine Reserve 25th birthday celebrations in May this year including a district wide school based Guardians logo design competition, a gala dinner event and more to be announced in the coming months

– Investigation of options and fundraising for a network of webcams for monitoring and compliance purposes 

– Regular contact and networking with stakeholders and other similar groups nationally

– Exploration of the possibility of the Raumati Pools complex being converted into a aquarium and marine education centre and a base for our group

This list is just a snapshot of what the GoKMR have been up to recently.  We are always on the look out for new opportunities for members of the community to get involved and show their support for our local marine reserve.  

Get Involved

Our Kaupapa is all about getting the local community connected to and involved in the decisions that affect our local marine environment. We are keen to support our members to get involved however, wherever and whenever they choose to. If you have a great idea or want to start a Kaitiaki project give us a shout and we will be there to support you!

About us

The Kapiti Marine Reserve was established in 1992 making it New Zealand’s 4th oldest marine reserve. It is also one of our largest coastal marine reserves at over 2200 hectares. The reserve was established as a result of a community led initiative that had its gestation in an informal reserve being established by the local Kapiti Boating Club in 1987. The Department of Conservation (DoC) subsequently came on board and Kapiti Marine Reserve was formally established in May 1992. 

It is the 25th anniversary of the reserve this year, which is a significant milestone in the reserves history.

Since its establishment, there have been significant increases in the Marine Reserve’s sea-life and it is a popular and well-used recreational, scientific and educational resource for the Kapiti coast and the wider region. It is one of ten Marine Reserves which have been designated as “Coastal Gems” under a Department of Conservation / Air New Zealand partnership.

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