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Importance Of Hauraki Gulf Reflected In Plan

Importance Of Hauraki Gulf Reflected In Strategic Plan

“The increasing importance of the Hauraki Gulf as a global identity is reflected in Auckland City’s recently adopted Strategic Plan,” says the chairperson of the Hauraki Gulf Committee, Councillor Faye Storer, a long-time environmentalist.

The Strategic Plan includes, for the first time, items specific to the Hauraki Gulf, including Waiheke and Great Barrier Islands. Councillor Storer’s response: “The Hauraki Gulf has finally arrived!”

The adoption of the Plan follows the recent enactment of the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park Act and the setting up of the Hauraki Gulf Forum, both of which also aim to promote the interests of the area.

The Strategic Plan identifies a number of areas of development which will improve access to the Gulf but at the same time, protect the environment.

The accessibility of the Gulf islands is a major feature of the Strategic Plan with a Hauraki Gulf Islands walkway system to be substantially completed by 2005. A plan will also be prepared within two years which will promote pedestrian access to coastal and other areas of the Hauraki Gulf Islands.

Councillor Storer says many tourists visit Waiheke in the expectation of being able to walk to many of its beauty spots. But the walkways are also used extensively by local residents for both leisure and general pedestrian use.

Councillor Storer says that work on walkways has been ongoing on Waiheke for some years, funded mostly from the Waiheke Community Board Small Local Improvement Projects (SLIPS) budget.

The Plan outlines strategies to protect significant natural features, and ecological and heritage sites by identifying and protecting heritage features in the Gulf.

Councillor Storer says these heritage features include old Maori fish traps in Karipaka Bay on Waiheke Island. These rock channels are believed to be 150 years old and, as such, are of archaeological interest.

Also worth preserving are the oral histories of the area, where the experiences and stories of older residents can be preserved for future generations. The recording of these histories, now underway, is an initiative of the Waiheke Community Board.

Another of Auckland City’s strategies is to work with the Department of Conservation in a co-operative partnership agreement which includes access to the DOC Estate, operation of the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park, land rationalisation between the two agencies, and a visitor strategy for the Hauraki Gulf.

“With increasing development in the Gulf there is also a need for increased access to the islands from different points of entry,” says Councillor Storer. “By 2003 a 25-year plan will have been put together to improve access for people arriving to the Hauraki Gulf islands by sea.”

Councillor Storer says: “The specialist Hauraki Gulf workshop held at the beginning of the consultation process brought in a wide variety of people, and the resultant Strategic Plan reflects the input of these people.”

ENDS

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