(1) The Hauraki Gulf has a quality and diversity of biology and landscape that makes it outstanding within New Zealand. The islands of the Gulf are valued as the habitats of plants and animals, once common, now rare, and are often the only places in the world where these species exist naturally:
(2) On some islands natural ecosystems remain intact while other islands have ecosystems that are evolving rapidly or are islands that provide opportunities for habitat restoration. A diverse marine environment extends from the deep ocean to bays, inlets, and harbours off the coastline and the shallow sea and broad intertidal flats of the Firth of Thames:
(3) The Gulf has a rich history of human settlement and use. The Gulf is one of the earliest places of human settlement in New Zealand and for generations supported and was home to tangata whenua. While tangata whenua have no single name for the Gulf, the names Tikapa Moana and Te Moananui a Toi are recognised as referring to the Gulf. Auckland, the first seat of government, is also on its shore. Along the shores of the Gulf the changing culture and technologies can be traced through places like the pa, kainga, and garden sites of antiquity on every island, driving dams, copper and gold mines, whaling stations, timber mills, industrial sites, and grand and ordinary homes:
(4) The Treaty of Waitangi was signed by tangata whenua of the Hauraki Gulf both at Waitangi and on the shores of the Gulf. The Treaty provides guarantees to both the Crown and tangata whenua and forms a basis for the protection, use, and management of the Gulf, its islands, and catchments. The Treaty continues to underpin the relationship between the Crown and tangata whenua. The assembled tribes of the Hauraki Gulf reaffirmed its importance to them in a statement from a hui at Motutapu Island, 14–15 November 1992 (The Motutapu Accord):
(5) The hinterland of the Gulf is intensively developed and settled. Its shores contain New Zealand's largest metropolitan area and extensive tracts of productive farm land. The coastal waters are of great importance to commerce in New Zealand. The Gulf contains the Port of Auckland, many smaller ports, and marinas. The Gulf is lived in and worked in, and is used for marine commerce, commercial fishing, and harbour and gulf transport. The Gulf is economically important:
(6) People use the Gulf for recreation and for the sustenance of human health, well-being, and spirit. The natural amenity of the Gulf provides a sense of belonging for many New Zealanders and for them it is an essential touchstone with nature, the natural world, and the marine environment of an island nation:
(7) The Gulf, its islands, and catchments have complex interrelationships that need to be well understood and managed. Many improvements have been made in the administration of statutory jurisdictions in the Gulf, the exercise of individual and collective responsibility, and stewardship of the Gulf. But the need for co-operation, and the need for integrated management, recognised in the establishment by local authorities of the Hauraki Gulf Forum, by Auckland City of
“Vision Hauraki”, by tangata whenua in the Motutapu Accord, and by the Government in establishing in 1967 the Hauraki Gulf Maritime Park, still remains. The Gulf must be managed in a manner that crosses territorial jurisdictions, crosses land and water boundaries, and crosses cultures and that respects both conservation and development needs.