A Conservation Park for Great Barrier
Department of Conservation land.
A greater level of protection?
by Liz Westbrooke
Kaitoke Stream and wetlands are a
conservation asset. Photo: Fenella Christian
Minister of Conservation proposed in September that the public
conservation land on Great Barrier be given greater protection by being
designated a new Conservation Park. DOC has started a process of public
consultation with Aotea iwi and the Great Barrier and Auckland
communities and will then prepare a report on the proposal for the
Some preliminary discussions with interest
groups and key stakeholders on the proposed Park have been held on the
island and DOC’s proposed timings from here are:
• Early December 2013 –Compilation of
discussion document and public notification of the proposal
• From the date of public notification
there will be 40 working days for people to submit on the proposal
• Feb–Mar 2014 – Analyse submissions, and
run hearings for those wishing to speak to their submission
• DOC prepares report for the Minister of
Conservation by May 2014 on the proposed Conservation Park, and Minister
makes decision whether to gazette a new conservation park.
You will be able to make a submission and
make your thoughts known from the public notification date which will be
widely advertised on island and in the major newspapers. Some of the
questions I have asked are:
Why a Conservation Park?
81% of the public conservation land here
is in Stewardship, a hangover from 1987 when the Department was formed
from parts of Lands and Survey, Forestry etc. The Conservation Park
status will create a stronger layer of protection from activities such
as mining and provides for recreation and tourism. A Park provides a
single marketing and management entity.
How will it work with the existing
protection status such as Historic or Scientific Reserve?
All the current legal protection mechanisms (such as Historic Reserve)
will remain in place. The Conservation Park can be seen as an underlying
Will DOC review and add some more
layers of reserve where there are none but the area is of high
ecological value e.g. Te Paparahi?
The main focus is the land currently managed as stewardship land;
however DOC will also look at some other DOC reserves and make sure that
their classification is appropriate.
How do Rakitu and Motu Kaikoura fit in?
They are not included at present. Motu Kaikoura is run by a separate
Trust therefore not administered by DOC and the lease on Rakitu expires
this month and will revert to Crown administration. Both Motu Kaikoura
and Rakitu are scenic reserves and have a high level of protection
already under the Reserves Act.
Can this be a stepping stone to a National Park at some point in the
(The last Local Board’s submission on the Conservation Management
Strategy (CMS) suggested a National Park status for the DOC land on
The definitions of National Park and
Conservation Park are as follows:
A National Park is an area of land (or land and water) containing
scenery of such distinctive quality, ecological systems, or natural
features so beautiful, unique or scientifically important that they are
of national interest.
• Kiwiriki Bay has some of the
largest mangroves on Great Barrier. Some people think mangroves
create muddy conditions, but of course they do not make the mud.
Fine sediments are often the result of human activities in
surrounding catchments, and the mangroves simply trap the
sediments with their protruding breathing roots. mangroves. “As
I paddled up the creek I watched a pied shag chasing juvenile
parore underwater beneath the mangroves.”
Photos: J Ogden
A Conservation Park is an area of land (or land and water)
containing predominantly natural systems, managed to ensure long term
protection and maintenance of biological diversity, while providing
recreational and visitor opportunities.
So in summary a Conservation Park provides
protection while still giving weight to recreation opportunities with
fewer restrictions than a National Park. Think about this difference and
decide what is most appropriate here.
Then is a Marine Reserve being considered as well?
No, it is not part of this process.
It’s a great step forward and congratulations to the Minister and
Department of Conservation for starting the ball rolling! As we said in
our submission to the Conservation Management Strategy, the purchase of
Glenfern Sanctuary into the public conservation estate (it is for sale)
would mean that Fitzroy House could make a superb historic Park HQ.
Remember to watch out for the Discussion Document before Christmas and
please make your submissions over the holiday period.
The Conservation Park. Hauturu (Little
Barrier Island) viewed from Maungapiko.
Note the healthy kauri rickers in the foreground. Photo: J Ogden