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Forest & Bird welcomes Ngai Tuhoe settlement

11 September 2012 – Wellington

Forest & Bird media release for immediate use

Forest & Bird welcomes Ngai Tuhoe settlement

Independent nature conservation group Forest & Bird applauds the settlement between the Crown and Ngai Tuhoe announced today.

Forest & Bird General Manager Mike Britton said the statutory recognition of the intrinsic natural, recreational, cultural and spiritual values of Te Urewera was an exciting outcome of the historic Crown settlement with Ngai Tuhoe.

“Giving Te Urewera its own persona, or identity, reverses the trend of thinking of our special natural areas as just economic assets. It confirms this area as a unique place and highlights the mystique of the Land of the Mist.

“The governance of Te Urewera by an independent board of guardians will ensure management focuses on protecting its values and the special relationship between Ngai Tuhoe and the area. It will also link management of nearby Ngai Tuhoe-owned land with the main park area.”

Forest & Bird is pleased that Te Urewera’s natural values and biodiversity will continue to be protected by carrying the key provisions over from the existing National Park Act and that it will continue to be professionally managed by the Department of Conservation. The new legislation will also protect public input into management planning. Forest & Bird expects the new legislation will incorporate the fundamental values in the National Parks Act.

“We are disappointed that the national park name will be dropped, not because it will reduce the level of protection but because the international status of a national park attracts overseas visitors,” Mike Britton said.

Seeking a higher level of international recognition, such as a UNESCO biosphere reserve or World Heritage status, would help recognise the area’s global significance.

Forest & Bird congratulates Ngai Tuhoe for this historic agreement with the Crown. “All around New Zealand, hapu and iwi are becoming Forest & Bird’s most important allies as we share many of the same underlying beliefs and principles about protecting nature,” Mike Britton said. “We look forward to working with Ngai Tuhoe in the future management of Te Urewera.”

© Scoop Media

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