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Kaituna River and Maketu Estuary – have your say!

Kaituna River and Maketu Estuary – have your say!
For immediate release: 28 November 2008
You are encouraged to have your say on the future vision and sustainable management of the Kaituna River and the Ongatoro/Maketu Estuary.
We are seeking feedback on the draft Kaituna River and Ongatoro/Maketu Estuary Strategy. This means you, your neighbours, friends and family can all have a say.
“The draft strategy is about why people value this environment, their concerns for it, and a vision for its future,” Environment Bay of Plenty Group Manager Rivers and Drainage Ken Tarboton said.
“The feedback period is your chance to tell us what you think about the draft Strategy, which of the possible actions you want to see happening the most and your views on the option of diverting the Kaituna River to the Ongatoro/Maketu Estuary,” he said.
“The draft Strategy provides a vision for local authorities, government agencies, tangata whenua, local communities, industry organisations and non-government organisations to work together to ensure the river and estuary remain an environment for native plants, koura, eels, inanga, fish, trout and waterfowl, and provide a bountiful source of kaimoana.”
Information days will be held in Te Puke and Maketu for people to ask questions prior to giving feedback.
The local community involved in developing the Strategy included a working party and several focus groups as well as representatives from different iwi, hapu, individuals, community groups and organisations.
The project is overseen by the Kaituna Maketu Joint Council Committee which is formed with representatives from Environment Bay of Plenty, Tauranga City Council, Western Bay of Plenty District Council and Rotorua District Council.
The draft Strategy is not a statutory document.  However, it can guide changes to planning documents and lead to the establishment of projects.
Environment Bay of Plenty Councillor and Chair of the Kaituna Maketu Joint Council Committee Ian Noble said the community input had formed the backbone of the draft strategy. 
“It is now an opportunity for all of the community and river and estuary users to give us feedback on what they think about the draft Strategy and its accompanying documents – the draft Action Plan and the re-diversion option discussion paper,” he said.
The draft Strategy looks at options for increasing the water flow into the estuary; developing a sub-regional/regional park; and increasing the amount of wetland in the area.
Feedback closes on 18 February 2009 and a public hearing is planned for April 2009.
For more information visit www.envbop.govt.nz 
Note: Ongatoro is the tangata whenua name for the Maketu Estuary. This estuary is named after Ngatoroirangi who was the esteemed tohunga/navigator of the Te Arawa waka.

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