Push for land­scape to be on par with the pyra­mids


Plans are afoot for the Kaiko¯ura land­scape to gain the same in­ter­na­tional sta­tus as cul­tural won­ders like the Acrop­o­lis, The Great Wall and the pyra­mids of Giza.

But it could all de­pend on the elec­tion.

Kaiko¯ura ma­rine guardian group Te Korowai o Te Tai Marokura has writ­ten to the four largest par­ties ask­ing them to sup­port the area gain­ing UNESCO World Her­itage sta­tus.

Only Labour and Na­tional re­sponded, with Labour firmly in favour and Na­tional firmly against the pro­posal, Te Korowai chair­man Larnce Wich­man said.

‘‘The area meets more cri­te­ria than other World Her­itage sites around the world. It would give us a re­ally im­por­tant sta­tus and let the world know the value that Kaiko¯ura has,’’ he said.

‘‘We be­lieve Kaiko¯ura, even though there’s been some re­cov­ery since the earth­quake, needs some­thing to re­ally in­vig­o­rate the whole area again.

‘‘There’s a lot of in­for­ma­tion out there say­ing Kaiko¯ura is doomed, so this would give the whole com­mu­nity a big lift to know it’s be­ing in­cluded and be­ing con­sid­ered.’’

World Her­itage sites, which can be ei­ther nat­u­ral or cul­tural, are recog­nised by the United Na­tions Ed­u­ca­tional, Sci­en­tific and Cul­tural Or­gan­i­sa­tion.

For a site to be in­cluded on the her­itage list, coun­tries have to cre­ate a ten­ta­tive list of sites which are then put into a nom­i­na­tion file for the World Her­itage Com­mit­tee to con­sider.

Wich­man said recog­ni­tion of the Kaiko¯ura Canyon and moun­tains through the World Her­itage list would help the town re­cover from the earth­quake and boost tourism.

Labour con­ser­va­tion spokes­woman Nanaia Mahuta said the party was com­mit­ted to work­ing along­side com­mu­ni­ties to en­sure the recog­ni­tion of bi­o­log­i­cal di­ver­sity and cul­tural her­itage.

‘‘Labour in Gov­ern­ment will progress the con­sid­er­a­tion of Kaiko¯ura to re­ceive World Her­itage sta­tus to pro­tect the unique coastal and ma­rine en­vi­ron­ment,’’ she said.

Con­ser­va­tion Min­is­ter Mag­gie Barry said re­cov­ery from the Kaiko¯ura earth­quake was a pri­or­ity for the Gov­ern­ment.

‘‘World Her­itage sta­tus could be con­sid­ered at some stage down the line but right now the pri­or­ity for the area is to en­sure the well­be­ing and liveli­hood of the peo­ple of Kaiko¯ura,’’ she said.

Barry said the Gov­ern­ment was not con­sid­er­ing a re­vi­sion of its cur­rent ten­ta­tive list, which con­tained eight sites in­clud­ing the Auck­land Vol­canic Fields, and the Napier Art Deco and Wai­tangi Treaty Grounds his­toric precincts.

The de­vel­op­ment of the list started in 2004, and in­volved the es­tab­lish­ment of two ad­vi­sory boards to as­sess the best of 304 pro­posed sites against World Her­itage cri­te­ria.

‘‘A more de­tailed case for all of the iden­ti­fied sites is yet to pro­ceed to the World Her­itage Com­mit­tee,’’ Barry said.

‘‘No as­sess­ment has been car­ried out on the Kaiko¯ura site since the 2006 process.

‘‘No­body knows if the area would meet the cur­rent cri­te­ria for in­clu­sion – to find that out we would have to go through a process sim­i­lar to that started in 2004 and that would take sig­nif­i­cant time and money.’’

Whale Watch gen­eral man­ager Kauahi Nga­pora said he wel­comed the sup­port from Labour, adding it was dis­ap­point­ing this had not been pro­vided by the cur­rent Gov­ern­ment.

‘‘Our com­mu­nity has been re­ally knocked by the earth­quake, and World Her­itage sta­tus would help our re­cov­ery and pro­vide recog­ni­tion for a truly unique part of Aotearoa,’’ he said.

‘‘We tick more boxes for this sta­tus than al­most any­where on the planet, and all the rea­sons we were not con­sid­ered last time the list for New Zealand was re­viewed have been solved.’’

Wich­man said in his let­ter to the po­lit­i­cal par­ties that the rea­sons for Kaiko¯ura not be­ing in­cluded on the ten­ta­tive list - a lack of pro­tected ma­rine and coastal ar­eas and frag­mented ma­rine man­age­ment, and a lack of pro­tected low­land ar­eas - had since been ad­dressed.

The Kaiko¯ura (Te Tai o Marokua) Ma­rine Man­age­ment Act 2014 es­tab­lished pro­tected ar­eas in­clud­ing the 10,416 hectare Hiku­rangi Ma­rine Re­serve, a 468,600 hectare whale sanc­tu­ary, a fur seal sanc­tu­ary, and five Mata­iai re­serves and Ta­ia­pure, or lo­cal, fish­eries.

‘‘Our ge­ol­ogy, land­scape, cul­tural his­tory and our wildlife are all out­stand­ing and this needs to be recog­nised,’’ Nga­pora said.

‘‘There's a lot of in­for­ma­tion out there say­ing Kaiko¯ura is doomed, so this would give the whole com­mu­nity a big lift to know it's be­ing in­cluded and be­ing con­sid­ered.’’


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