Blue Highway: enhancing access to the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park

Cat Davis, Environmental Scientist
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The Colville Channel, at the northern tip of the Coromandel Peninsula, connects the Hauraki Gulf to the Pacific Ocean.

The Colville Channel, at the northern tip of the Coromandel Peninsula, connects the Hauraki Gulf to the Pacific Ocean.

Sea Change – Tai Timu Tai Pari, a partnership between mana whenua and local and central government agencies, finalised a marine spatial plan for the Hauraki Gulf in late 2016. This plan was a collaborative effort between Sea Change – Tai Timu Tai Pari, subject experts and local communities and interest groups. It includes a number of principles, objectives and visions to manage and protect the Hauraki Gulf. 

Part of the plan, entitled “Prosperous Communities: Wāhanga Tuawhā Kotahitanga”, incorporates community, access and the design of coastal infrastructure. It includes the creation of a “Blue Highway” which maps out sea transport in the gulf. Morphum Environmental was proud to make a contribution to the development of this strategy, which was overseen and managed by the infrastructure and accessibility stakeholder working group. We are excited about the opportunities for future developments to align with the “Blue Highway” vision. 

The Blue Highway, accessibility and infrastructure in the gulf

The Blue Highway creates an interconnected link between the regional hubs, and enhances the current access to the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park. The transport routes include ferries, recreational vessels, commercial vessels and cargo to link remote and disconnected communities in Great Barrier Island, Waiheke and the Coromandel Peninsula to Auckland Central and the Northern Shores. The aim of this is to identify and carefully manage areas that will be developed into transport and marine infrastructure hubs while keeping others pristine as unique and “untouched destinations”.

The Blue Highway embodies a framework for improvements to accessibility and infrastructure, which are key topics in the Hauraki Gulf Marine Spatial Plan. In particular, this framework cultivates a set of blue design guidelines to develop gulf infrastructure provision, planning, design and construction for existing and proposed infrastructure in the Hauraki Gulf. It is intended that regular public transport options to the islands and a range of places within the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park will be developed. This transport strategy and the “Blue Highway” together formulate a management tool to map out infrastructure within the park.

Cat Davis

Environmental Scientist