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Crown, Council and iwi working for Watts Peninsula heritage

Hon Christopher Finlayson

Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage
5 September 2014 Media Statement

Crown, Council and iwi working for Watts Peninsula heritage

The Crown, Port Nicholson Block Settlement Trust (PNBST) and Wellington City Council today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) intended to ensure the heritage of the historically important Watts Peninsula, or Te Motu Kairangi, is protected, preserved and developed with sensitivity, Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Christopher Finlayson announced today.

Watts Peninsula is the prominent northern end of Miramar Peninsula.

The MOU recognises the cultural and historical significance of Watts Peninsula, and sets out the relationship between the three parties including the guiding principles for the development of the future vision for Watts Peninsula.

“The parties are totally committed to working with all the stakeholders, local and national, to develop a national heritage destination which recognises environmental, cultural and heritage values,” Mr Finlayson said. “Work is already underway to develop a project charter that will outline the vision, objectives and goals of the Watts Peninsula Plan.

“The government is partnering closely with the PNBST and Wellington City Council to ensure that both central and local government are aligned in the development of a special plan for the Miramar Peninsula,” Mr Finlayson said.

Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown welcomed the MOU as an extremely positive development for the future of Watts Peninsula and Wellington. “The MOU is being signed in the best spirit of partnership with mana whenua and the Crown. It lays the foundation for ensuring that the cultural, heritage and environmental values of significant sites in this beautiful area are protected and enhanced.

“Landscape, recreation, biodiversity and military heritage make this an outstanding destination,” she said.

“Mana whenua have a special interest in the area,” Port Nicholson Block Settlement Trust Chair Neville Baker said. “Signing the MOU with central and local government will ensure we are all working in the best spirit of partnership and collaboration.”

Mr Finlayson said a collaborative and inclusive process underpins the MOU to ensure that iwi, private interests and other community partners are involved in developing the future vision from the outset.

“An agreed governance structure will support the development of the plans for Watts Peninsula.

“The signing of the MOU signals the commitment from the key partners and stakeholders to ensuring the protection, preservation and development of the Watts Peninsula land for future generations,” he said.

The peninsula has been regarded as strategically important since the early days of Māori occupation and contains a number of archaeological areas important to Māori and pakeha. It is home to a number of historic military gun emplacements, pa sites and former ammunition magazines.

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