Become a guardian

This page provides information on the role of the Fiordland Marine Guardians and how to become a guardian.


Between five and eight guardians are appointed to serve at any one time. At least five members must live in Otago or Southland and one member must be nominated by Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu.


Guardians are appointed for up to 4 years. Ideally, their terms will be staggered so they do not all expire in the same year.

The Minister for the Environment appoints members of the guardians as per the Fiordland (Te Moana o Atawhenua) Marine Management Act 2005. 

Expected time commitment

We meet for a full day five or six times a year, usually in Invercargill. Guardians should also allow time to attend sub-committee meetings and for other activities (such as helping with boat shows).


Guardians are paid $308 per day worked and the chair is paid $396 per day. Actual and reasonable expenses are reimbursed. 

Knowledge and experience

As a group, the Fiordland Marine Guardians must have a balanced mix of knowledge and experience in relation to the Fiordland (Te Moana o Atawhenua) Marine Area (FMA).

Each member is appointed in their own right and does not represent any particular organisation or group. A guardian is expected to have the following skills:

  • knowledge, experience and expertise in one or more aspects relevant to managing the FMA
  • the ability to work with other guardians and agency staff to establish common goals, and work cooperatively to achieve them
  • the ability to network and consult effectively with stakeholders and community groups
  • personal integrity
  • the interest, enthusiasm and time needed to contribute effectively to the work of the guardians
  • an understanding of effective governance and strategy
  • an understanding of, or interest in, environmental law relevant to the management of the FMA.


Under Section 13 of the Act, the guardians have the following functions:

  1. to provide advice and recommendations to management agencies and Ministers to achieve the purpose of the Act. This will include:
    • advice and recommendations on the effectiveness of management measures in the Fiordland Marine Area
    • advice and recommendations on activities occurring outside the Fiordland Marine Area if those activities impact, or are likely to impact, on the Fiordland Marine Area
    • advice and recommendations on likely threats to the Fiordland Marine Area
  2. to facilitate and promote the integrated management of the Fiordland Marine Area
  3. to obtain, share, and monitor information on the state of the Fiordland Marine Area
  4. to assist management agencies to:
    • prepare and disseminate information about the Fiordland Marine Area, including educational information
    • monitor the state of the marine environment and biological diversity in the Fiordland Marine Area
    • plan for the enforcement of, and compliance with, the management of the Fiordland Marine Area
  5. to conduct any reviews that they are invited by the Minister for the Environment to conduct; and agree to conduct
  6. to perform any other functions given to the Fiordland Marine Guardians under the Act.

Advice and recommendations may be given on the guardians' own initiative or at the request of management agencies or Ministers.

A key role of the guardians and agencies is the development and implementation of the non-statutory elements of the overall package approved by the Government, including strategies covering monitoring, compliance and enforcement, biosecurity and public information.

Due diligence

Before a person is appointed as a guardian they are required to:

  • provide a complete CV
  • consent in writing to being a guardian
  • advise they are not disqualified from being appointed or holding office as a guardian
  • disclose the nature and extent of the interests they have, or are likely to have, in relation to the Fiordland Marine Area or Fiordland Marine Guardians.

Please contact us at if you are interested in finding out more or becoming a guardian.