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Kaimanawa Maori to protect their land

22 August, 2003 Media Statement

Kaimanawa Maori to protect their land for conservation

Conservation Minister Chris Carter announced today the approval of a $680,000 protection package for 6795 ha of Maori-owned land adjoining Kaimanawa Forest Park.

Nga Whenua Rahui chairman Tumu Te Heu Heu was due to represent Mr Carter at a ceremony in Taupo at 10.30am tomorrow (Saturday) to celebrate the covenant (kawenata) between the owners of the Needle Block and the Minister's Nga Whenua Rahui fund.

"Tumu Te Heu Heu and I congratulate the land owners for protecting a nationally important area for native plant and animal life for present and future generations," Mr Carter said.

Known as the Needles Block, the covenanted area is part of the unique Desert Road landscape of the Central North Island. It is home to endangered species such as New Zealand falcon, whio (blue duck), kaka, brown kiwi, long-tailed bat and land snails. It includes native forest, is important for water and soil conservation, and is part of the Tongariro River catchment.

Nga Whenua Rahui covenants (kawenata) aim to protect native species biodiversity on Maori-owned land. They recognise special values tangata whenua place on their land and tikanga Maori. In particular, land-owners will retain ownership, management and control (tino rangatiratanga) of covenanted land.

The Needles Block kawenata brings the area of Nga Whenua Rahui covenanted land to more than 140,000 ha since the fund was set up in 1991. Kawenata range in area from less than 100 ha to more than 10,000 ha. Of note are eight blocks covering 45,000 ha adjoining Raukumara Forest Park in Eastern Bay of Plenty.

ENDS

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