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Te Paepae Aotea (Volkner Rocks)

Te Paepae Aotea (Volkner Rocks) consist of three andesitic rock stacks or pinnacles that rise to approximately 113 metres above sea level.  The pinnacles are geologically linked to the active andesitic volcano of White Island.

Large schools of pelagic and reef fish are found within the boundaries of the marine reserve and some species are locally rare due to the unique convergence of oceanic and subtropical currents at this southern location. Clear water, near vertical rock faces, colourful encrusting organisms and abundant fish life combine to make the underwater scenery at the Volkner Rocks both beautiful and distinctive.


Examples of distinctive and unique features include:

- the spectacular underwater scenery;
- the unusual clarity of water leading to deep water (35-40 metres);
- kelp forests;
- the presence of rare invertebrate species at accessible depths, including the fire brick starfish and the diadema urchin
- the presence of deep water invertebrate species which have only been found here.

What to see and do

The location of Te Paepae Aotea (Volkner Rocks) Marine Reserve is 55 kilometres north/north east of Whakatane and five kilometres North West of Whakaari (White Island). Public access to the marine reserve is via marine craft. A range of boat ramps and associated facilities are located in the eastern Bay of Plenty and visits are also made by boats from further afield.  However, due to its distance offshore and exposed location, the marine reserve is unlikely to have many visits by small boats under seven metres in length and then only during calm sea conditions.

Whilst the objectives for the establishment of the marine reserve are primarily scientific, there are also significant recreational and educational values to be enjoyed by the visitors who make the trip to the reserve. The above water scenery at the Volkner Rocks is very attractive, however of greater recreational and educational interest is the underwater scenery and marine life.  The underwater visibility is excellent due to low levels of sedimentation and run off from the pinnacles.

Clean water near vertical rock faces, colourful encrusting organisms and abundant fish life combine to make the underwater scenery both beautiful and distinctive. Some opportunities exist for snorkelling in the lee of the pinnacles and among some reef channels.  A number of recognised dive sites are located within the reserve.

Find out more on the DoC website, or visit the following link(s):

The reserve Order in Council.

Wikipedia - Te Paepae Marine Reserve.

News Article from the Beehive 2005 - "Minister approves marine reserve at Volkner Rocks." Sponsors