Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary Bill

The purpose of the Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary Bill is to establish a new marine protected area in New Zealand’s exclusive economic zone around the Kermadec Islands and to preserve it in its natural state.


The proposed Rangitāhua/ Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary (the sanctuary) was introduced by the 2016 Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary Bill. The bill awaits its second reading.

The bill had its first reading on 15 March 2016 and was referred to the Local Government and Environment Select Committee for consideration.

The select committee received public submissions up to 28 April 2016.

For more information about the select committee process and timeframes see Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary Bill webpage [New Zealand Parliament website].

About the proposed sanctuary

The proposed Rangitāhua/ Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary is situated in the South Pacific Ocean about 1000 kilometres northeast of New Zealand. At 620,000 square kilometres it would be 35 times larger than the combined area of New Zealand’s existing 44 marine reserves. It would bring the area of our marine environment that has full protection to 15 per cent.

The area is already partially protected in the form of the Kermadec Marine Reserve and benthic protected areas (BPAs). The current reserve, an area of 7500 square kilometres, extends 12 nautical miles from the cliffs and beaches of the various Kermadec Islands and rocks. BPAs that extend beyond the 12 nautical miles provide protection from trawling and dredging, however the area above the seafloor is not protected. The proposed sanctuary would extend protection to this space. The proposed Sanctuary would extend protection to this space.