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The Friends of Te Whanganui-A-Hei Marine Reserve Trust

Te Whanganui-A-Hei became a marine reserve in 1992 and is New Zealand’s sixth marine reserve, the first for the Coromandel. With no recreational or commercial fishing allowed inside the reserve, marine plants and animals are free to return to their natural balance. Marine reserves have been hugely successful in restoring marine ecosystems, including fish stocks, in other parts of New Zealand. The reserve covers nine square kilometres and is administered by the Department of Conservation in partnership with the Te Whanganui-a-Hei Marine Reserve Committee.

The Friends of Te Whanganui-A-Hei Marine Reserve Trust was established in 2010, primarily to raise funds for the Marine Reserve at Cathedral Cove, Hahei.  The Trust receives funds through grants, and donations. 


Members of the Trust are made up of two representatives appointed by Ngati Hei, one from the Te Whanganui-A-Hei Marine Reserve Committee and four representatives from the community.  The Trust works closely with the Waikato Conservation Board and the Department of Conservation. 


The Friends of Te Whanganui-A-Hei Marine Reserve Trust are the regional provider for The Mountains to Sea Conservation Trust in the Hauraki/Coromandel region and are extremely pleased to be able to provide the funding needed to deliver the Trust’s Experiencing Marine Reserves (EMR) and Whitebait Connection (WBC) programmes to local area schools.  

EMR is a national programme of experiential learning about marine conservation.  The focus of EMR is to provide quality education opportunities, increasing awareness, encouraging action and support for marine conservation in New Zealand.  Our coordinator provides guidance, direction and coordination of classroom exercises and field trips to Te Whanganui-A-Hei Marine Reserve. The concept of EMR is to engage schools (years 1 to 8) and communities by providing the equipment and expertise for a hands-on learning experience in the ocean. This involves investigating marine biodiversity and local marine environments before venturing to a fully-protected marine reserve. After this experience, students are able to compare unprotected and protected areas and are supported and encouraged to put their knowledge into action within the community.

The WBC is offered from early childhood through to year 8 students. It is a programme of experiential learning about freshwater conservation and catchment restoration which utilises an inquiry framework of learning enabling students to focus on a variety of fresh water topics best suited to their community.   Like EMR students will formulate an action plan that does something for the freshwater environment in their community based on the knowledge they have gained during the programme.


These programmes are available to any school in the Hauraki/Coromandel area at little cost thanks to sponsorship and support from a wide range of stakeholders and organisations.  Many schools within the region have taken up the opportunity in the past.  

If you would like more information or to register your school’s interest in either the EMR or WBC programmes please contact Hauraki/Coromandel Regional Coordinator – Amber Boyd or 


The Friends of Te Whanganui-A-Hei Marine Reserve Trust is a Charitable Trust -CC43790. Anyone wishing more information about the trust or to make a donation to help with the funding of the EMR/WBC programmes can contact the secretary – Barbara Ritchie at  

Direct Credit to: The Friends of Te Whanganui-A-Hei Marine Reserve Trust Westpac – 03 1578 0095821 00


In 2017 the Trust became the umbrella organisation for the Hahei Reserves Group so they could apply for funding for the work they do within the reserves.  They do a variety of planting work in the reserves around Hahei and the Cathedral Cove Reserve.  They are made up of local volunteers.  Along with planting they are responsible for pest trapping and weed control.  Contact people are Brian Green – – Pip   and Sam Verran –