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Looking out to sea: New Zealand as a model for ocean governance

By Raewyn Peart
February 2005

New Zealand is blessed with a vast ocean which teems with life and is the source of valuable oil, gas and minerals. New Zealanders are passionate about their ocean. It plays an important role in the nation’s social, cultural and economic well-being.

Although New Zealand has been a world leader in some aspects of oceans management, it has fallen behind in other critical areas. To address some of these weaknesses, the government commenced the Oceans Policy Initiative in 2000. This has provided an invaluable opportunity to redesign New Zealand’s oceans governance system for the twenty-first century.

Much can be learnt from the experiences of other countries in developing oceans policies, as well as from the experiences of oceans managers within New Zealand. This publication reviews international thinking and experience on oceans governance. It investigates what we know about the current state of New Zealand’s oceans and the effectiveness of management efforts. It concludes with recommendations on how an oceans policy could assist New Zealand to develop a world-leading oceans governance system.