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Auckland Regional Council has had a proposal to establish New Zealand's 34th marine reserve rubber stamped.
The 400ha Tawharanui Marine Reserve will be established off the Tawharanui Peninsula, east of Warkworth, and will replace and slightly enlarge the Tawharanui Marine Park which was established there in 1981.
Conservation Minister Kate Wilkinson and Fisheries and Aquaculture Minister Phil Heatley said the area had a unique geology and was already a popular snorkelling spot having been a no-take fishing zone since 1981.
"The diversity of fish and other marine life, along with extensive reefs, also make it an ideal site for scientific research," Ms Wilkinson said.