GulfX: Answering those FAQs

What is GulfX?

GulfX is SBN’s new project with a mission to restore the Hauraki Gulf. We want to work with businesses and individuals willing to help us in this mission.

Why is GulfX needed?

On a beautiful sunny day, with the sea blue and glistening, not much looks wrong with our Gulf. But, below that shimmering surface, things aren’t what they used to be. These problems have been well described in the comprehensive State of our Gulf and Sea Change reports (add links). All of us has a role to play in restoring the Gulf to health. That includes national and local government, community groups and us as individuals. And of course the business community. This is where GulfX comes in. It’s a project aimed at leading businesses to get involved in the mission to protect and restore the Gulf.

What is the scope of GulfX?

We’ll be raising awareness of these issues, providing advice on actions, and engaging with businesses in targeted areas

GulfX is initially focused on tackling pollution that flows from the land into the Hauraki Gulf. The areas we’re covering are plastics, heavy metals and sediment.

Of course, these aren’t the only issues the Gulf is facing. Other major ones are what happens out on and under the water (e.g. irresponsible fishing), overflows from the wastewater system, and nutrient flows from the land. Other groups are tackling these issues, such as Legasea (responsible fishing), Watercare/Council (wastewater overflow problems), and some landowners (nutrient flows).

How can I get involved with GulfX?

There are a few ways. You can sign up to be a GulfX Supporter here, donate to GulfX here, or get in touch with us here if you have an idea on how to restore the health of the Gulf.

What does being a GulfX supporter mean?

Signing up as a GulfX supporter is a signal that you are keen to be a part of the solution. Becoming a supporter means you support the mission of restoring the mauri, the life-giving essence of the Hauraki Gulf, and as a result have committed to take some kind of action (however small) to help in that mission. (See our action page here for ways to get involved.)

You’re signing up as an individual, but we really hope that you can be an ambassador for the GulfX mission in your workplace. We’re also seeking partners to help us maximise our impact.

How do I sign-up to be a GulfX Supporter?

Really easy – It’s free – we just ask that you then take some action! See here for ideas on how.

What do I have to do as a GulfX Supporter?

It’s flexible and really up to you. The important thing is that you take some action. We have a range of suggestions on our Action page here. These range from simple things you can do in your everyday life (like pick up rubbish in the street or using the car less) to influencing action in your workplace (like getting litter traps installed or copper free brake pads installed in the vehicle fleet).

How can I keep in touch with the GulfX project?

We’ll be posting GulfX news on our website and also via the SBN social media channels. And, once you’ve signed up as a GulfX Supporter, we’ll be in touch every now and then. No obligation, but we’d love to hear from you on what actions you’ve taken!

What is the area covered by GulfX?

Strictly, we’re looking at activities in the Hauraki Gulf catchment, which is shown below (amazing that it stretches all the way to Rotorua!)

Plastic dropped in the street, soil flowing off construction sites or metal fragments from our vehicles – if it happens in this area then it may well find its way into a local stream and then out into our estuaries, harbours and beyond.

Of course, these are still a problem if these flow into the Manukau harbour, the West coast, the Kaipara or elsewhere – wherever you live or work this stuff is relevant!


What are heavy metals?

Heavy metals, particularly copper and zinc, are a significant contaminant in the Gulf and its harbours and estuaries. Heavy metals are toxic to both animals and humans, even at low concentrations. They result from a range of human activities – copper leaches from road vehicle brake pads, anti-fouling paints on boat hulls and metal works, while zinc leaches from road vehicle tyres and unpainted corrugated steel/iron roofing. They ‘escape’ into our waterways, estuaries, and harbours from the stormwater system, especially at times of heavy rain.

How does GulfX link with SBN’s other projects?

SBN’s two major project areas are the Low Carbon Circular Economy and Million Metres Streams. Both have strong connections to GulfX.

One of the focus areas for our low carbon circular economy work is a re-design of our plastic packaging system – if we design out problematic plastic packaging, shift to more packaging re-use, and increase the value of recyclable plastic then we will have way less plastic rubbish in the environment.

Million Metres Streams is all about cleaning up our waterways through riparian (stream-side) planting. One of the benefits of this planting is to filter out contaminants, including sediment and nutrients. Million Metres is a nationwide initiative, and includes many projects in the Auckland area and the wider Hauraki Gulf catchment.

How is GulfX relevant if I’m not based in Auckland and the wider Hauraki Gulf area?

The problems that GulfX is tackling occur across New Zealand. SBN would love to run similar projects in other parts of the country so let us know if you are interested in helping us start!

Who is behind GulfX?

GulfX is a major project of the Sustainable Business Network and has received funding from Gulf Innovation Fund Together (G.I.F.T) – a Foundation North initiative.

How does GulfX link with other groups restoring the Gulf?

Restoring the Hauraki Gulf to full health is a huge task. It will take many years. There are many groups that have been taking action for years, with some amazing results.

With GulfX we want to complement all that’s already happening, but our focus is engaging with the business sector and its people.

Through the (G.I.F.T) programme we’re connected to other projects supported by the Fund. We are also liaising with many groups, including the Hauraki Gulf Forum and other NGOs.

How long will GulfX run for?

Our initial time-frame is out to 2021. It’s a major year for Auckland and the Gulf, with the hosting of the America’s Cup and the APEC meeting of world leaders. But restoring the Gulf will take a bit longer so we hope to be involved for the long haul!

How do I get in touch with the GulfX team?

Best way is to email us at gulfx@sustainable.org.nz, or get in touch with one of the SBN team.