Taputeranga Marine Reserve is located close to Wellington's city centre. It lies in the confluence of three oceanic water bodies and currents, which bring together a unique and richly varied mixture of warm, cold, temperate, and subantarctic fauna and flora.
The northern and southern limits of many fish, invertebrates and algal species occur within the reserve. The complex topography of the coast and high energy of the coastal waters has created a wide variety of habitats within a relatively small area.
The Order-in-Council that created the reserve allows the existing moorings in Island Bay to remain; the continued use of crayfish holding pots, and consented structures such as storm water outlets and emergency sewer outfalls. The removal of some seaweed by the Wellington City Council may be approved.
Wellington's south coast has long been the focus of marine research. The close proximity of the reserve to New Zealand's capital city and the Victoria University of Wellington Coastal Marine Laboratory gives it the potential to become one of the most valuable natural laboratories in New Zealand.
A process of community consultation and application for the Taputeranga marine reserve began in 1991 by the South Coast Marine Reserve Coalition and Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society of New Zealand. The reserve was formally established in August 2008.