Queen Charlotte Sound / Tōtaranui seabed mapping

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Queen Charlotte Sound / Tōtaranui seabed mapping

In 2016 Council and Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) partnered to reveal remarkable new insights into the world beneath the waves.

The survey has pulled back the aquatic veil and revealed startling discoveries. The complex nature of the seafloor throughout the entire area is evident in extensive plains, tidal sediment ribbons, freshwater seeps and rocky reefs.

Explore more - Go to the Story Map and Smart Maps

Delivered by the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) and Discovery Marine Limited, the seafloor mapping campaign involved two vessels and comprised 280 days on the water.

View the NIWA video showing early discoveries here:

The seafloor mapping campaign involved two vessels and comprised 280 days on the water.

An additional 67 days were completed for observational data (coastal, seabed and navigation aids) and tide gauge installation.

Check out the NIWA video on the survey methods involved:

The survey is providing LINZ with updated nautical charts, making it safer for vessels – from dinghies to cruise liners – using these waterways.

It has given Council a data-rich appraisal of the seabed habitats throughout this important part of New Zealand’s coast. This will directly assist Council in the sustainable management of coastal resources and inform the community’s growing desire for more comprehensive marine protection to maintain biodiversity.

Explore more - Go to the Story Map and Smart Maps

Queen Charlotte Sound / Tōtaranui seabed mapping

RV Ikatere survey vessel. Photo courtesy of NIWA

Queen Charlotte Sound/Tōtaranui and Tory Channel/Kura Te Au form the main waterways within the eastern part of the Marlborough Sounds at the top of New Zealand's South Island. Here, the calm waters of the sounds interact with one of the world's most energetic stretches of water in Cook Strait (Rau kawakawa).

This sheltered sound, dotted with islands and bordered by its distinctive bays, is home to Picton and several small settlements. It is also a transport hub connecting the South and North Islands, contains a commercial port, numerous tourist attractions, and includes recreational, customary and commercial fishing grounds.

Read the scientific guide to the survey.

To find out more contact:

Dr Steve Urlich
Coastal Scientist
Email: steve.urlich@marlborough.govt.nz