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Finding a balance at the Kai Iwi Lakes

Media Release

29 August 2016

Finding a balance at the Kai Iwi Lakes

The draft Reserve Management Plan Kai Iwi Lakes (Taharoa Domain) attracted more than a thousand submissions, which overwhelmingly recognise that the Kai Iwi Lakes were Kaipara’s ‘jewel in the crown’, a very special place that needs to be managed and protected to keep the lakes pristine and safe. There was general support for revegetation, weed and pest control and the restoration of the native flora and fauna. For iwi this extends to a strong desire to restore the lake ecosystem and the traditional fishery.

Beneath this common vision, submitters have widely differing views as to what activities should be allowed. Some recreation activities are simply incompatible with others. Some activities bring significant risks. It is no easy task to balance competing views to ensure that we can all enjoy the lakes in perpetuity.

“Everyone that made submissions felt a strong connection to the Domain and the lakes, almost a sense of ownership. Most felt the need to demonstrate the depth of their association with the Domain. Yet few seemed aware of the history of the lakes and its peoples,” Peter Winder, Chair Taharoa Domain Governance Committee, says.

“Understanding history is essential in planning for the future. I would suggest that all of those genuinely interested in the future of the Domain should read the 1992 Waitangi Tribunal Te Roroa Report. There you will see the way in which Te Roroa established and held mana whenua over this land. You will see the woeful performance of the Crown and its repeated failures since 1840. There you will learn that the lakes are only in public ownership because of the actions and wishes of Paramount Chief Parore Te Awha , who sold the land into public ownership in 1876.

Since the 1876 sale neither the Crown nor local authorities have a flash history with the Taharoa Domain. The Crown did not establish the inalienable Native Reserve that it was supposed to, the eel fishery has been destroyed, and exotic species have significantly changed the whole ecosystem. We need to learn from these mistakes.”

It is because of this history and the need to address past failure that the Taharoa Domain Governance Committee includes equal membership from Te Roroa, Te Kuihi and Council. Ric Parore, who sits on the Committee, is a direct descendant of Parore Te Awha.

“The Committee has sought to manage the Domain and lakes for the future in a way that respects the past, as well as the wishes of present generations. We have sought to balance conflicting views in order to provide a stable platform for the future,” Mr Winder says.

“Part of respecting the past is to honour the vision for the lakes that we have inherited from Te Roroa, Te Kuihi and Parore Te Awha - that the lakes are open to all to enjoy, that no one has exclusive use, and that no use should compromise the pristine nature of the place and its enjoyment by others.

The Committee’s decisions reflect the need for safety, ensuring the native trees and plants can again be established, lake weeds kept out, and everyone can enjoy the lakes and reserves.”

In summary, the key decisions made so far are:
• Stop the release of trout from 2018 to support restoration of native species;
• Powerboats to be restricted to Lake Taharoa;
• Promenade Point campground to remain, as a wilderness-style campground;
• Education Centre to be established, either a new building or conversion of an existing building;
• A Cultural Impact Assessment to be carried out;
• Ranger’s residence to be established;
• Walking and cycling track networks to be extended;
• The proposal for cabins is removed from the plan; and
• The draft Kai Iwi Lakes (Taharoa Domain) Powerboats Bylaw 2015 covering the lakes’ use will be amended to reflect the management direction.

The next meeting of the Taharoa Domain Governance Committee will resolve all other matters raised by submitters and any other detail before recommending a final Reserve Management Plan to Council.
Peter Winder
Chair, Taharoa Domain Governance Committee

© Scoop Media

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