Project

Kermadec Islands

Pew Bertarelli Ocean Legacy

The waters of the Kermadec Rangitāhua region in the South Pacific, approximately 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) northeast of New Zealand’s North Island, teem with life, ranging from resident sea turtles and sharks to migrating dolphins and whales.

The area’s unique geological features, which include the world’s longest arc of underwater volcanoes, hydrothermal vents, and the second-deepest ocean trench on Earth, support millions of seabirds, hundreds of fish species, and more than 250 species of coral and aquatic invertebrates.

For millennia, this island arc—part of New Zealand’s outlying islands—has remained near pristine, but it could face threats in the future from climate change and human activity, including resource exploitation. The establishment of a large-scale marine protected area (MPA) surrounding the entire Kermadec Rangitāhua region not only would protect marine life but also would honor the islands’ cultural and spiritual significance to iwi (Maori tribes), who have ancestral links to the region. The Kermadec/Rangitāhua Ocean Sanctuary bill—legislation that could secure protections for this diverse ecosystem—awaits debate in New Zealand’s Parliament. If passed, the bill would create one of the world’s most significant fully protected marine areas.

Pew Bertarelli Ocean Legacy Project

The Pew Charitable Trusts and the Bertarelli Foundation joined forces in 2017 to create the Pew Bertarelli Ocean Legacy Project. This effort builds on a decade of work by both organizations to protect the ocean. Pew’s Global Ocean Legacy initiative, established in 2006, helped obtain commitments to safeguard more than 8 million square kilometers (3 million square miles) of ocean by working with philanthropic partners, Indigenous groups, community leaders, government officials, and scientists. Since 2010, the Bertarelli Foundation has sought to protect the ocean for future generations through marine conservation and collaborative marine science research.

Project Goals

With designation of this MPA, the federal government, alongside iwi and other citizens of New Zealand, could safeguard 15% of the country’s exclusive economic zone, preserve marine life, improve ocean health, and recognize the multitude of ways in which these waters are linked to the ancestral culture and the health and well-being of future generations.

The Pew Bertarelli Ocean Legacy Project is committed to working with the iwi people, scientists, nongovernmental organizations, community leaders, and government officials to secure increased protections for the Kermadecs’ waters. Over the past 10 years, Pew has helped to sponsor numerous expeditions, host the first Kermadec science symposium, and support an exhibition on the Kermadec Islands by a group of leading South Pacific artists. Pew continues to help facilitate the amplification of Indigenous voices advocating for stronger marine protections in the region.

Learn more about this culturally significant oasis of biodiversity.

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Article

New Zealand Could Protect Biodiverse Marine Areas

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Article

In 2015, then-New Zealand Prime Minister John Key announced his commitment to protect the waters surrounding the Kermadec Islands by creating one of the world’s largest fully protected marine areas.

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Una manera de preservar la biodiversidad, apoyar a las pesquerías y proteger el hábitat oceánico

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La salud del océano es vital para todas las formas de vida del planeta. El fitoplancton, que son plantas microscópicas que se encuentran en las áreas con luz solar de casi todos los océanos, genera cerca de la mitad del oxígeno de la Tierra, y la compleja interacción entre los océanos y la atmósfera sostiene a nuestro clima.

OUR WORK

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El esfuerzo para salvaguardar el 30 % del océano

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El océano cubre más de dos tercios de la superficie de la Tierra y produce más de la mitad del oxígeno del planeta.

Article

New Zealand Unveils Legislation to Create Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary

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New Zealand Prime Minister Rt. Hon. John Key and Minister for the Environment the Hon. Dr. Nick Smith officially unveiled legislation March 8 to create the Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary at an event in Wellington.