After 20 years Akaroa on Banks Peninsula is getting a long-awaited marine reserve which takes effect on World Oceans Day on Sunday.
A formal application for the reserve was lodged in 1996 by the Akaroa Harbour Marine Protection Society.
Former Minister of Conservation Kate Wilkinson denied the application but a High Court ruling forced her to revisit that decision in May 2012.
Current minister Nick Smith announced the reserve's designation in December last year.
Spokesperson for the Society, Suky Thompson said it's time to put the Harbour's biodiversity first.
She said it's a dream come true for so many people who have worked so hard and never lost sight of such an important goal.
The reserve will be reviewed by the Department of Conservation Department in ten years.
The formal consultation had nearly 2,340 submissions in support and more than 700 objections, with the principal opponents being Ngai Tahu and recreational fishers.