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Information day celebrates Ohiwa Harbour

Information day celebrates Ohiwa Harbour

Environment Bay of Plenty’s Bev Hughes at Ohiwa Harbour.

Older people with “wonderful stories to tell” are warmly invited to attend a very special day in the future of Ohiwa Harbour in late January.

The event, at Port Ohope Playcentre on Thursday 22 January, will bring together all those who have a relationship with the harbour or the land around it. It will be a chance for them to talk, reminisce and put their views towards a strategy being developed for the harbour’s future management.

Environment Bay of Plenty’s Beverley Hughes, one of the organisers, has sent invitations to local landowners and businesses, iwi, schools, and forestry companies. But the event is for everyone. ”If Ohiwa Harbour is important to you, please come and join us,” she says.

Bev chose the Playcentre as a venue because it was suitable for families with young children, the elderly and the frail. She hopes many of the area’s older residents will be there. “We would really love to hear their stories about the harbour.”

The fun day runs from 10 am to 3 pm and includes various presentations. Display boards will be set up for each of the tentative chapters in the strategy being put together by the regional council and other groups. So far, these include reserves, recreation, kaitiakitanga, education and development.

But more may come out of the day, Bev says. “We have organised this event because we are really interested in listening to people and hearing what they want us to hear. We will take what they say into account when drafting the strategy and maintain contact with them too. Our task is to create a document that takes us forward together and, to do that, we need to reflect together first.”

A number of agencies currently manage different aspects of the harbour and catchment. They include Environment Bay of Plenty, the Department of Conservation, Ministry of Fisheries, Opotiki and Whakatane District Councils, Ngati Awa, Tuhoe, Whakatohea, and Upokorehe, landowners, occupiers and users. A joint strategy will promote more effective communication between agencies and people to avoid duplications of spending and gaps in management.

“The pressure for development in the harbour is growing,” Bev says. ”It’s important that we are proactive and working together in our approach to sustainably manage this wonderful resource so it is there for future generations.”

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