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Ancient waterway faces brighter future


MEDIA RELEASE


Ancient waterway faces brighter future

For immediate release: Thursday 26 October 2006

An ancient waterway which is under severe environmental pressure now faces a brighter – and cleaner - future.

Local people, iwi and hapu, councils and environmental agencies are joining forces to safeguard the Kaituna River and the estuary it flows into at Maketu.

Over the next 18 months, they will develop a management strategy for the river and Maketu Estuary.

Working party chairman Dean Flavell considers the strategy to be “of utmost importance” for the people who live around and rely on the river. “It is about safeguarding the future to sustain a healthy and resilient river and estuary ecosystem.”

Mr Flavell says the river has noticeably changed over the past 50 years. “For tangata whenua, this ancient waterway holds great spiritual reverence because it captures the deep relationship that our people have always had with our awa (river). The Kaituna is the umbilical cord that connects the child (lakes) to the parent (ocean).”

The strategy will not be a statutory document but will enable the community to support and guide regional, district and city decision-makers in their approach, he explains.

The management strategy is a joint project between Environment Bay of Plenty, Western Bay of Plenty District Council, Tauranga City Council and Rotorua District Council. It aims to ensure the long-term sustainability of the Kaituna and its related waterways, and the Maketu Estuary. The Rotorua Lakes is already covered by the Strategy for the Lakes of the Rotorua District.

The working party is made up of representatives from iwi, hapu, environmental agencies, local government, local community and Kaituna River stakeholders.

Environment Bay of Plenty identified the central issues affecting the Kaituna and Maketu estuary after community consultation earlier this year.

The working party now has the task of developing priorities and actions for enhancing and sustaining the river system and to produce a draft strategy by 2008. The strategy will then be released for public submissions.

The working party meetings are open to the public. Future meeting dates and other information will be posted on Environment Bay of Plenty’s website on www.envbop.govt.nz. To sign up to an email information list, please call Ruth Feist on 0800 ENV BOP (368 267) or email your request to info@envbop.govt.nz.

Kaituna.jpg: Dean Flavell at Maketu Estuary.

Ends

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