1970s - The fishing fleet that once was

"..morning ice bins of fish stacked high..."

Matiatia used to be a fishing port. Historian Paul Monin writes; “Old wooden launches converted into commercial fishing boats were a prominent feature…

“In the late 1970s, there were 36 of them, roughly a third of the Auckland-registered longline fleet.

“Matiatia was conspicuously a fishing port, characterized by numerous fishing boats on moorings and at the wharf, where in the morning ice bins of fish stacked high awaited despatch to the Auckland fish markets.

“In 1981-2 the island’s commercial fishermen joined forces to set up the Waiheke Fish Co-operative, equipped with its own chilling plant and ice maker…all the fish they caught was traded through the Co-op, 95 per cent of it exported.”

The quota management system for New Zealand commercial fishing, which was established in 1986, led to the end of the Matiatia fleet, as fishermen sold off their individual quotas to larger, better-resourced companies. In the early 1990s, there were 17 Waiheke commercial fishing boats. By 2007 there were none.

Commercial fishing is now restricted in the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park, which completely surrounds Waiheke Island. No trawling is allowed in the waters around Waiheke.

A few recreational fishing charter companies do still operate out of Matiatia.

  • <p>The fishing industry fleet at anchor in Auckland, 4 June, 1908. <em>Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19080604-4-5. </em></p>
  • <p>Hāpuka were once abundant in Waiheke waters, 12 December 1901. <em>Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19011212-2-4.</em></p>