Ngāti Manuhiri and Revive Our Gulf celebrated Aotearoa New Zealand’s first-ever Matariki public holiday in 2022 by launching the Te Au o Morunga project that aims to restore the mauri (life essence) of Te Moananui-ā-Toi through re-establishing kūtai / mussel beds in the iwi rohe moana.

Te Au o Morunga refers to the thin shimmer you see out on the horizon on a calm day out on the moana. The project title is metaphoric – indicating progress towards a brighter future for Te Moanui-ā-Toi and for ngā uri o Ngāti Manuhiri. 

The Te Ao o Morunga project looks to create a ‘joined up’ series of kūtai beds across islands and bays that will help us understand mussel survival, recruitment and predation under different conditions.

In the northern reaches of the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park lies the Waihē (Mahurangi Harbour) opening to a cluster of small islands flowing north to Te Kawau Tumaro-o-Toi (Kawau Island) and then Mangatawhiri (Omaha), Whānga-ō-Maha (Leigh) and around the point to Ngā One Haea (Pākiri beach). The area has a special significance for marine conservation as it is home to Aotearoa New Zealand’s first ever marine reserve. 

Stretching from Ōkakari Point to Whakatūwhenua (Cape Rodney), the marine reserve at Te Hāwere-a-Maki (Goat Island) was established in 1975.  It is also home to University of Auckland’s Leigh Marine Laboratory – the home of shellfish research. Ngāti Manuhiri Settlement Trust, mana whenua and mandated iwi authority, have a long standing collaborative relationship with the University, and are actively involved in a number of projects that seek to improve the state of the marine environment. This includes the Mahurangi East Land Restoration (MELR) project aimed at reducing sedimentation, and the Sustainable Seas Kohunga Kūtai project which looks at applying mātauranga (customary knowledge) in natural woven fibres as a sustainable alternative to using plastic spat ropes in marine farming.

The recent storms have left their mark on the Hauraki Gulf / Tīkapa Moana /Te Moananui ā Toi. Although we’ve not yet been able to assess the impacts on the mussel restoration sites, we remain committed to the revitalisation of the Gulf and its ecosystems. We appreciate all the support we`ve received and look forward to working together on the other side of this storm in our efforts to re-mussel the Gulf. We’re hoping to have eyes on the restoration sites soon and we`ll be back in touch to let you know how they are. Kia haumaru te noho (stay safe everyone).

📷 Manuel Greenland
#haurakigulf #shellfishrestoration #kūtaiōkahu #teauomorunga #shellfishrestnz

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The science of restoring kūtai/mussels

In this video Dr. Jenny Hillman and Mallory Sea of the University of Auckland Marine Science Department talk about the science of mussel reef restoration….

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About the Revive Our Gulf project

This video describes the Revive Our Gulf project.

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can people harvest and eat these kūtai (mussels)?

    You’re welcome to visit, but please don’t take anything from the beds.  We will be monitoring them for a number of years for ‘natural predation’.  Taking kūtai will affect our results, so please don’t!  You’ll find plenty of mussels at your local supermarket.

  • What is known about the historical mussel beds in the Mahurangi and Kawau Bay area?

    Ngāti Manuhiri have traditional mahinga kai (food gathering areas) across many of the intertidal areas of Waihē (Mahurangi) and Te Kawau-o–Toi with pipi, kūtai and kūkuroa (horse mussels).  To the best of our knowledge the area was never commercially dredged for kūtai.


24 June 2022

Restoring the kūtai beds of Te Moananui-ā-Toi Ngāti Manuhiri and the Revive Our Gulf project celebrated Aotearoa New Zealand’s first ever Matariki public holiday by launching Te Au o Morunga, a project that aims to restore the mauri (life essence) of Te Moananui-ā-Toi / Hauraki Gulf through re-establishing kūtai (mussel) beds in the iwi rohe... Read more »

24 June 2022

30 November 2018
Media releases

Press Release: Revive Our Gulf Mussel beds installed in Mahurangi Harbour (Waihē) late 2017 are having a major upgrade this month from the Revive Our Gulf project. Three 10 tonne mussel beds will be added to extend the previous five. The mussel beds have been a success with excellent survival and rapidly forming reef structure.... Read more »

30 November 2018

20 November 2017
Media releases

Press Release: Revive Our Gulf Five living fish nurseries have been installed around the Mahurangi Harbour by Revive Our Gulf. The nurseries have been formed by laying more than 50 tonnes of mussels (the weight of more than a dozen school buses) on the seabed. Revive Our Gulf want the reefs to be in place... Read more »

20 November 2017

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