It is well known that New Zealand’s natural environment and its
recreation opportunities underpin our tourism industry. contributes around $17.2 billion per year, or 9.5 % to GDP.
accounted for $8.1 billion or 18.7 % of our exports in 2005, the industry New Zealand’s largest foreign exchange earner.
To assess the economic impact of the direct use and indirect economic benefits of public conservation land, the Department of Conservation commissioned independent Christchurch economists, Butcher Partners Ltd, to study several regional terrestrial systems (DOC, 2006). This current study to investigate the economic contribution of the Cape Rodney – Okakari Point (CROP) Marine Reserve at Leigh to the Rodney District economy was overseen by Butcher Partners Ltd.
Some study of the value of the marine reserve at Leigh to the surrounding Rodney district has been attempted. In a 2002 study, the Rodney Economic Development Trust made a simple estimate of the amount spent by visitors (then 300 000 per year) to the marine reserve, placing the value to the local economy at $12.5 million per year at that time (REDT, 2003).
Cape Rodney–Okakari Point Marine Reserve
The CROP Marine Reserve, which is less than 2 hours drive from Auckland, was established in 1975 and was the first marine reserve in New Zealand. The site provides the opportunity to observe many
species including snapper, lobsters close to the shore. one of the major attractions
moki, blue cod, leather jackets and rock The ability to easily view fish is said to be of the site. There is a sandy beach lined by
pohutakawa rock pools.
and rock platforms allowing exploration of the intertidal The bay is relatively protected by Goat Island which
provides a safe, pleasant coastal sheltered beach, with rock pools which are additional attractions of
setting. There is a very accessible and snorkeling/diving opportunities the Reserve.
The CROP Marine Reserve could be considered the most well known marine reserve in New Zealand, and received an estimated 375, 000 visits in the year to February 28th, 2008 (appendix 2). The reserve is busiest during summer public holidays when the weather is warmest, with close to 6000 people per day visiting on favourable days (DOC, 2003). Although the Long Bay Marine Reserve (Auckland Area) attracts upwards of 1,000,000 visitors annually, the attraction is primarily the beach and beach activities rather than the marine reserve