Public Submissions Invited On Molesworth Station Management
11 October 2012
Public Submissions Invited On Management Of Molesworth Station
Submissions are being invited on a draft management plan for Molesworth Station – a high country reserve and New Zealand’s largest farm.
Molesworth has a distinguished place in New Zealand’s heritage as a South Island high country farming icon and for its significant natural ecology. Its vast 180,787 hectares, about the size of Stewart Island/Rakiura, span South Marlborough and North Canterbury.
In 2005 Molesworth became a recreation reserve under Department of Conservation management with its working farm continuing, operated by Landcorp Farming Limited.
People have until 4pm, Friday 14 December 2012 to make submissions on the draft management plan which, when finalised, will guide and direct the management of Molesworth for up to 10 years.
The draft plan can be found on the DOC website www.doc.govt.nz . Printed copies of the plan are available at DOC offices in Nelson, Marlborough and Canterbury or people can contact DOC’s South Marlborough Area Office, ph (03) 572 9100 or email firstname.lastname@example.org , to be sent a copy on CD.
Hamish Ensor, chairman of the Molesworth Steering Committee which advises on Molesworth’s management, said submissions on the Draft Molesworth Management Plan enabled the public to have input into how it is managed.
‘Molesworth is a national taonga/treasure that belongs to all New Zealanders. The contribution the public make to its management through submissions on its draft management plan is important and is valued.
‘In November, we will be hosting four public meetings in Hanmer Springs, Nelson, Blenheim and Christchurch. Steering committee members will be on hand to answer any questions people may have to assist them in making their submissions.
‘Management of Molesworth integrates protection of its natural, historical and cultural values and recreational use with its pastoral farming operation. The draft management plan outlines proposed measures for how this will be achieved and balanced.
‘The draft plan and its proposals build on the good working relationship between DOC and Landcorp developed over several decades, with advice from the Molesworth Steering Committee, to integrate Molesworth’s special values. The plan proposals aim for further protection and enhancement of its farming, conservation and recreation values with the wellbeing of Molesworth being an overriding consideration.’
DOC Nelson Marlborough Conservator Neil Clifton said the plan aimed to retain Molesworth’s high country character of an open uncluttered landscape of towering mountains and wide river valleys that give a sense of vast grandeur.
‘Molesworth’s remote, dramatic terrain and its rich history make it a spectacular place for exploration and adventure. Public access has increased since Molesworth became a reserve and is managed to co-exist with its farm and protection of its natural, historical and cultural qualities.
‘The draft management plan’s recreation provisions encompass the opportunities for recreation and exploration currently available and those planned. It includes the 14-week summer opening of the Acheron Road through the station, new tracks, routes, huts, campsites and picnic areas, and large areas open for parts or all of the year. Access is allowed with a DOC permit as appropriate to areas when they are closed for farming purposes.
‘Molesworth is a stronghold for native plants endemic to the South Marlborough region and has notable lizard diversity. Protection of its biodiversity has been increasing since the 1980s through Landcorp and DOC working together.
‘Biodiversity plan proposals aim to manage the best representative samples of Molesworth’s indigenous species and ecosystems, to protect threatened native species, habitats and ecosystems, to preserve its high level of endemism, and to extend on knowledge already gained about species.
‘Molesworth has been recognised by DOC as an “historic icon” – one of the topmost historic sites on public conservation land. Its historic landmarks include early cob and farm buildings. The draft plan contains proposals for building on the knowledge already gained of Molesworth’s fascinating history and to develop and implement plans to manage and conserve its historic features.
‘Plan proposals for pest control provide for DOC and Landcorp to continue to work together to control weed and animal pests and to prevent new pest incursions.’
The Molesworth Steering Group comprises representatives of Landcorp, DOC, Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu, the Nelson Marlborough Conservation Board and the farming and recreational/conservation sectors.
The draft management plan’s proposals are in line with the terms of Landcorp’s lease for the farming operation.
Following the closure of submissions, hearings will be held for submitters wishing to speak to their submissions. The draft plan will be revised taking submissions into consideration and will then go to the Nelson Marlborough Conservation Board for final decisions and approval.