Park memo draft done

In­terim agree­ment

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By MICHAEL KOPP

Whi­tireia Re­gional Park in Ti­tahi Bay is al­most signed and sealed af­ter more than a decade of ne­go­ti­a­tions, pol­i­tick­ing, con­flicts and wait­ing for Maori to agree to al­low small parts of the park, which they claim, to be in­cluded.

Coun­cil­lors at the fi­nal Greater Welling­ton Re­gional Coun­cil meet­ing of the tri­en­nium were self­con­grat­u­la­tory about the achieve­ment of a draft mem­o­ran­dum of un­der­stand­ing with Ngati Toa to share man­age­ment of the park in a new board of equal mem­ber­ship, with a Maori chair.

The park was orig­i­nally part of a re­gion-wide net­work of parks in­tended by the old re­gional wa­ter board and plan­ning au­thor­i­ties in the late 1970s. Much of it was never re­served, and es­caped through land deals at the time of the de­vo­lu­tion of the old Lands and Sur­vey Depart­ment in the 1980s Labour years.

The Makara area, now a wind farm, was also part of it.

Councillor Chris Laid­law, chair of the re­gional sus­tain­abil­ity com­mit­tee, which over­sees parks, said this had been a ‘‘ gleam in [ the com­mit­tee’s] eye’’ for more than 10 years.

‘‘We were far-sighted and we should be cel­e­brat­ing.’’

The deal comes as Ngati Toa await the ink to dry on the set­tle­ment with the Crown of their Treaty of Wai­tangi claims.

Set­tle­ment terms which give Maori ‘‘cul­tural re­dress’’ are driv­ing the park.

The park cov­ers most of the Whi­tireia head­land over­look­ing the en­trance to Porirua Har­bour, cov­er­ing about 180 hectares, mostly owned or leased by the Depart­ment of Con­ser­va­tion.

It has been man­aged as a recre­ation re­serve by GWRC for years, but fund­ing and staffing is­sues be­tween DOC and GWRC have re­duced its main­te­nance.

GWRC will pro­vide staff and limited fund­ing.

Asked if he thought Porirua City Coun­cil would con­trib­ute fund­ing, for­mer re­gional councillor John Burke said he wouldn’t hold his breath.

PCC had once planned to re-zone part of the park for com­mer­cial recre­ation – plans that dis­ap­peared.

‘‘The park was first opened in 1981. The Labour Govern­ment turned us up­side down.

‘‘Lands and Sur­vey looked af­ter the farms and re­serves; DOC was never funded to do that,’’ Mr Burke said.

‘‘We’ve been hold­ing on to Whi­tireia for 20 years and it has lan­guished.’’

Porirua re­gional councillor Bar­bara Don­ald­son, who, along with Mr Burke, has been a tire­less cham­pion of the park, said, ‘‘I’m just re­ally pleased that while it’s to be only an in­terim agree­ment, we’ve man­aged in this term to get to this stage.’’

The mem­o­ran­dum of un­der­stand­ing says the par­ties are com­mit­ted to an en­dur­ing part­ner­ship based on co-op­er­a­tion, hon­esty and re­spect and meet­ing the as­pi­ra­tions of both par­ties, through the con­tin­ued main­te­nance and devel­op­ment of the park as an ‘‘iconic cul­tural site’’ with recre­ational and en­vi­ron­men­tal val­ues.

Con­trol and man­age­ment will be in ac­cor­dance with the Re­serves Act, recog­nis­ing Ngati Toa as mana whenua and the cul­tural and spir­i­tual im­por­tance of the land to them.

The six-hectare block con­tains mid­dens, ovens, pits and ter­races.

The set­tle­ment and mem­o­ran­dum call for the six

Don­ald­son Porirua re­gional councillor hectares of Ngati Toa-claimed land on One­hunga Bay, and a fur­ther one hectare of land along the western cliffs pro­posed as an urupa, to be vested in the iwi.

Ngati Toa will ini­tially al­low its con­tin­ued in­clu­sion in the park as his­toric re­serve.

But the re­dressed land may in fu­ture be re­moved from park man­age­ment and to be used for other uses.

It also in­cludes the vest­ing in Ngati Toa Ran­gatira of a 1.5 hectare area of Queen El­iz­a­beth Park cur­rently man­aged by GWRC, and the grant­ing of a statu­tory ac­knowl­edge­ment of Ngati Toa’s his­tor­i­cal in­ter­est, but not own­er­ship or rights, in 65 hectares of Bat­tle Hill Farm For­est Park.

GWRC says ac­knowl­edge­ment will have no ad­verse ef­fect on the park.

The set­tle­ment in­cludes a Roopu Ti­aki, or joint man­age­ment board, mooted for a num­ber of years, re­plac­ing the Whi­tireia Park Board which will re­main in ex­is­tence un­til the Ngati Toa set­tle­ment is signed.

Three GWRC coun­cil­lors and three iwi rep­re­sen­ta­tives will sit on the board.

The chair will not have a cast­ing vote.

The cur­rent park man­age­ment plan will re­main in force un­til re­viewed.

Re­peated at­tempts were made to get com­ment from Ngati Toa rep­re­sen­ta­tives, but they did not re­spond.

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