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We are delighted to invite you to the 16th International Coral Reef Symposium (ICRS), to be held in Auckland, New Zealand, from Sunday 19th to Friday 24th July 2026.

This will represent an important forum to highlight the plight of world’s coral reefs, including those across Oceania, and discuss management solutions with global applicability.

Coral reefs are a vital part of marine ecosystems and are under threat from global warming and ocean acidification, as well as more localised threats such as agricultural run-off, poor fishing practices and coastal development. Hosting the ICRS symposium in Oceania will provide a unique place to come together to identify solutions to these problems and to provide guidance to help governments, NGOs and industry make informed decisions to protect our coral reefs and the livelihood of those affected.

Coral reefs in Oceania play an important role for global biodiversity, as well as for the wellbeing and livelihoods of millions of Pacific Islanders. Coral reefs are home to many millions of species, from fish and plant life to microscopic bacteria. They also provide a source of food and income for many of our people, as well as provide other important ecosystem and cultural services that are under threat from global climate change and local human activity. The 16th ICRS conference provides an opportunity to highlight solutions to coral reef threats, including those solutions arising from traditional knowledge systems.

The Pacific Ocean occupies about a third of the surface of the globe and about 25% of the world’s coral reef area, supporting a dizzying array of unique and endemic species. New Zealand works in partnership with Pacific countries to support peace, prosperity, and environmental protection in the Pacific region. Now, more than ever, the wellbeing of New Zealand’s people, economy and environment is closely linked to the wellbeing of the Pacific region in which we live. We are committed to sustainable development with and for the Pacific and tackling the global challenges, particularly climate change, that affect our region.

New Zealand has strong cultural connections to our Pacific neighbours. New Zealand is also a hub for Pacific Islanders, as many Pacific nations (e.g., Cook Islands, Niue) have special diplomatic relations, meaning there is already a large presence in the country. Bringing the ICRS to New Zealand for the first time will provide a truly unique opportunity to feature Pacific Islander knowledge and traditions for reef management, as well as providing a global platform to share the latest science for understanding how to best preserve coral reefs in the face of global change and other threats.

We look forward to seeing you in New Zealand, where we intend to build on the advances made during the 15th ICRS in Bremen, Germany, by taking a positive, collaborative and proactive stance, and thereby “working together to ensure a future for coral reefs”.

Prof Simon Davy (Te Herenga Waka Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand)
Dr Murray Ford (University of Auckland, New Zealand)
Dr Stacy Jupiter (Wildlife Conservation Society)