In the “Stewart Island/Rakiura Conservation Management Strategy and Rakiura National Park Management Plan 2011-2021”
The Oban/Paterson Place has been identified as a Place to achieve the integrated management of the conservation lands readily accessible to the Oban/Halfmoon Bay community and visitors.
The Oban/Paterson Place encompasses a number of different parcels of public conservation land in the Paterson Inlet/Oban/Halfmoon Bay/Horseshoe Bay area including sections of land and islands within Rakiura National Park, scenic reserves, and areas of stewardship land. The Ulva Island/Te Wharawhara Marine Reserve is also part of this Place. It also encompasses advocacy over the coastal marine area of Paterson Inlet/Whaka a Te Wera, in relation to the Paterson Inlet/Whaka a Te Wera mataitai reserve, and is adjacent to the internal waters of Port William/Poteripo.
For the purposes of this CMS, the Oban/Paterson Place should be thought of as comprising the following distinct parts, each of which has specific management requirements:
- Parts of Rakiura National Park - including lands adjacent to the southern shores of Paterson Inlet/Whaka a Te Wera as well as a number of islands or parts of islands within Paterson Inlet and up to Port William/Poteripo and North Arm.
- The Oban/Halfmoon Bay Community Buffer - encompassing areas of scenic reserve and conservation stewardship land between the Oban/Halfmoon Bay settlement and the Rakiura National Park boundary.
- The Oban/Halfmoon Bay Community reserves - including the many scenic and recreation reserves as well as some areas of conservation land dotted throughout the Oban/Halfmoon Bay settlement.
- Paterson Inlet islands - islands or parts of islands outside of Rakiura National Park within Paterson Inlet. These are all scenic reserves, or contain scenic reserve.
- The Ulva Island/Te Wharawhara Marine Reserve - marine reserve in Paterson Inlet near Ulva Island.
2.2.1 Spatial definition of the Oban/Paterson Place
The Oban/Paterson Place comprises all public conservation land east of a line between Port William/Poteripo and North Arm, Paterson Inlet/Whaka a Te Wera. It is comprised of a number of distinct but integrated sections of public conservation land:
- Parts of Rakiura National Park;
- Oban/Halfmoon Bay community buffer;
- Oban/Halfmoon Bay community reserves;
- Ulva Island/Te Wharawhara Marine Reserve; and
- Paterson Inlet islands.
These sections are described in more detail below.
Rakiura National Park
The Oban/Paterson Place contains some parts of Rakiura National Park that are readily accessible to Oban/Halfmoon Bay and Paterson Inlet/Whaka a Te Wera.
The section of Rakiura National Park between the boundary east of the Oban/Halfmoon Bay settlement and a line between Port William/Poteripo and North Arm. This section of Rakiura National Park also includes part of the Rakiura Track Corridor.
Several islands within Paterson Inlet/Whaka a Te Wera that are part of Rakiura National Park are considered within the Oban/Paterson Place. These are:
- Mudflat Island
- Iona Island
- Burial Island
- Dirty Island
- the Faith, Hope, and Charity group
- the Bravo Islands (Refuge, Tommy, Crayfish, Groper and Goat islands)
- part of Native Island
- islands adjacent to Roys Beach, North Arm.
The portions of Rakiura National Park that adjoin the southern shores of Paterson Inlet/Whaka a Te Wera are contained within the Oban/Paterson Place, as shown on Map 10.
The parts of Rakiura National Park (above mean high water spring) that border the South-west Arm of Paterson Inlet/Whaka a Te Wera south of a line between Freds Camp Hut and the south-western end of the Pryses Peak track are not part of the Oban/Paterson Place. Refer to the Northern Place within the Rakiura National Park Management Plan.
The provisions of the National Parks Act 1980, General Policy for National Parks 2005, and the Rakiura National Park Management Plan apply to all sections of Rakiura National Park within the Oban/Paterson Place.
Oban/Halfmoon Bay community buffer
The Oban/Halfmoon Bay community buffer refers to the sections of public conservation land between the Oban/Halfmoon Bay settlement and the Rakiura National Park boundary. These sections are either scenic reserve managed under the Reserves Act 1977 or conservation land managed under section 62 of the Conservation Act 1987. The individual parcels of land are:
- Vaila Voe Bay Stewardship area
- Stewart Island Forest Stewardship area
- Kaipipi Scenic Reserve
- Paterson Scenic Reserve.
Oban/Halfmoon Bay community reserves
The Oban/Halfmoon Bay community reserves comprise the parcels of public conservation land around the Oban/Halfmoon Bay settlement. These are scenic or recreation reserves managed under the Reserves Act 1977 or small sections of conservation land managed under the Conservation Act 1987. The individual parcels of land directly managed by the Department of Conservation are:
- Bobs Point, Port William stewardship area
- Frenchmans Beach stewardship area
- Baker Park Scenic Reserve
- Raroa Scenic Reserve
- Golden Bay Scenic Reserve
- Horseshoe Bay Recreation Reserve
- Miro Crescent Scenic Reserve
- Rakiura National Park Visitor Centre
- Dundee Street stewardship area
- Observation Rock Recreation Reserve
- Peterson Hill Radio Base stewardship area
- Deep Bay Scenic Reserve
- Lonnekers Rock Stewardship area
- Ackers Point Scenic Reserve.
There are other reserves in the Oban/Halfmoon Bay/Horseshoe Bay area that are vested in the Southland District Council.
Ulva Island/Te Wharawhara Marine Reserve
The Ulva Island/Te Wharawhara Marine Reserve is 1075 hectares in size and exists in three parts (see Map 7 of the Rakiura National Park Management Plan, Section Two of this planning resource):
- a section adjoining Sydney Cove, Ulva Island (20 hectares)
- a section on the southern side of Ulva Island between Hapuatuna Point and Paua Point on the southern shores of Paterson Inlet/Whaka a Te Wera (862 hectares)
- a section between Ulva Island and Native Island (193 hectares).
Paterson Inlet islands (that are not part of Rakiura National Park)
A number of islands or parts of islands within Paterson Inlet/Whaka a Te Wera are scenic reserves. These islands include:
- the Native Island Scenic Reserve, which covers part of Native Island
- the Islands in Paterson Inlet Scenic Reserve which cover part of Bravo Island in Big Glory Bay, the Boat Passage islands at the head of Glory Cove, an unnamed island off the eastern shore of Big Glory Bay, and the Pipi Rocks.
2.2.2 Rationale for the Oban/Paterson Place
The Oban/Paterson Place comprises a patchwork of land status including part of Rakiura National Park, scenic reserves, recreation reserves, marine reserve, conservation land and other land held under the Conservation Act 1987 (such as marginal strips).
Conservation General Policy seeks that a ‘Place’ is identified for the purposes of integrated conservation management, which in this case has been determined by:
- geographical features – broadly speaking the conservation land that is readily accessible from the Oban/Halfmoon Bay community and Paterson Inlet/Whaka a Te Wera
- boundaries and land status – specifically seeking an integrated approach to management across multiple boundaries and parcels with differing land status and legislative frameworks
- major recreation and tourism destinations – particularly as Oban/Halfmoon Bay is the only residential community on Stewart Island/Rakiura and is the gateway to experiencing recreation and tourism opportunities on the Island
- commonality of management considerations – identification of common values across legal boundaries and to work towards a common outcome
- unique management needs – specifically the need of Oban/Halfmoon Bay to be the gateway for conservation lands on Stewart Island/Rakiura and the need to ensure that high quality opportunities are provided that are readily accessible to the those living in or visiting the Oban/Halfmoon Bay community.
The Department of Conservation seeks to work closely with the Oban/Halfmoon Bay community towards achieving the outcomes sought for the Oban/Paterson Place.
2.2.3 Natural resources
The section of Rakiura National Park between the Oban/Halfmoon Bay settlement and Port William/Poteripo contains primarily regenerating podocarp forest, as well as a number of small patches of original forest in areas that did not undergo milling activity. It also contains a number of significant beaches including Māori Beach/Magnetic Beach at Port William/Potirepo and the intricate coastline and estuarine environment of Paterson Inlet/Whaka a Te Wera.
The southern and western shores of Paterson Inlet/Whaka a Te Wera within Rakiura National Park are quite different in character to the northern and eastern shores of the inlet. Although easily accessible by boat and in some places via the Island’s track network, they have backcountry values and there has been less human impact than on the northern shores.
The Oban/Halfmoon Bay community reserves with their mixture of original and regenerating podocarp forest, along with the large amount of indigenous vegetation remaining on private land, support the rich variety of birdlife that the Oban/Halfmoon Bay settlement is renowned for. The reserves provide the community with many of its landscape values. The Oban/Halfmoon Bay community buffer supports a growing population of Stewart Island brown kiwi/tokoeka.
The scenic reserve islands within Paterson Inlet/Whaka a Te Wera share a similar ecology to the islands within the inlet that are part of Rakiura National Park. However, these islands often have multiple land uses associated with them such as private landholdings on Bravo and Native islands, with Bravo Island having a long-standing use as a holiday destination by landowners. Some small-scale hobby farming occurs on land outside of public conservation land in the Oban/Paterson Place.
Paterson Inlet/Whaka a Te Wera (excluding Big Glory Bay) has exceptional natural character of national and regional significance. Its value has been recognised by the creation of Rakiura National Park on land surrounding the inlet. Many of the islands within the inlet are partly or wholly scenic reserves and the inlet includes the Ulva Island/Te Wharawhara Marine Reserve. As well as these substantial ecological values, the amenity and visual values of the inlet are high.
The inlet is a flooded river valley system with numerous islands and intertidal flats with shell banks surrounded by forest that often overhangs the water. The ecological communities found within the inlet are nationally outstanding, with tube worm mounds, bryozoan reefs, a species of swimming bivalve and five species of brachiopods. The inlet has areas of significant indigenous vegetation, including extensive beds of red algae and the highest diversity of algal species in New Zealand. These types of vegetation and their communities are very susceptible to sedimentation. The intertidal area is a significant habitat for wading birds, in particular the Southern New Zealand dotterel, and is critical for its continued survival.
Big Glory Bay is managed by the Southland Regional Council as a part of the coastal marine area that can support aquaculture and marine farming activities.
Paterson Inlet/Whaka a Te Wera is closed to commercial fishing. Recreational fishing is controlled both through the existence of a mataitai and a number of local regulations such as a ban on set and drift netting. The taking of scallops and other shellfish in parts of Paterson Inlet is also controlled.
The Ulva Island/Te Wharawhara Marine Reserve protects parts of the marine environment surrounding Ulva Island. This Marine Reserve, created in 2004, provides for the total protection of fish and other marine life, as well as the seabed itself, within its boundaries. While recreational and commercial fishing are prohibited within the boundaries of the Reserve, other activities such as boating, kayaking, swimming, snorkelling and diving are allowed for people wanting to enjoy the marine life within this part of Paterson Inlet/Whaka a Te Wera.
2.2.4 Historical and cultural heritage
Waterways have been vital for transport throughout history on Stewart Island/Rakiura and are still the most effective way to reach many places. Consequently, the waters of Paterson Inlet/Whaka a Te Wera have been the focus of much human activity over the centuries. The Place is surrounded by a rich historical and cultural heritage of settlement, social activities, industry, transport and communication.
Signs of Māori occupation have been recorded around the shores of Paterson Inlet/Whaka a Te Wera and tradition places much importance on the islands within the inlet and off the nearby coast. Archaeological understanding of Māori use of the area is limited but excavations during the 1950s and 1960s revealed moa bone in ovens dating back to the 13th century, overlaid by more recent occupation.
Paterson Inlet/Whaka a Te Wera was a focus of multicultural occupation during the 1840s and, with a population of 54 at The Neck and 26 in Halfmoon Bay, was the most populous part of Stewart Island/Rakiura. The Neck was the location of the first formal school on the Island in 1875, and the first lighthouse, which was moved to Ackers Point in 1927. Ulva Island, due to its accessibility in the middle of Paterson Inlet/Whaka a Te Wera, was the location of the first post office.
Tourism had an early start on Stewart Island/Rakiura with visitors taking excursions from the mainland as early as 1876. The infant tourism industry was supported by Government with the creation of reserves for scenery and nature preservation. Ulva Island was one of the first reserves in New Zealand and was soon visited by tourists that travelled by boat from Halfmoon Bay across the waters of Paterson Inlet/Whaka a Te Wera. Since these early beginnings the inlet has been an important part of the Stewart Island/Rakiura CMS area’s attraction for tourists.
Port William/Potirepo was still occupied as a Māori kaik (village) during the early years of European visits. There is record of settlements in the bay by sealers and whalers.
Fishing was to be the basis of the only Government-organised ‘special settlement’ on Stewart Island/Rakiura, located at Port William/Potirepo in the 1870s. Organised settlement was conceived by the provincial government as a means to promote the settlement of the Island and thereby offset the costs of land purchase and infrastructure development. Port William/Potirepo was one of a number of bays surveyed for settlement. Commissioner of Crown Lands W.H. Pearson and superintendent of the province James MacAndrew were full of optimism for the settlement of 100 Shetland Islanders. Barracks were built in 1872 and in 1873 the first 24 settlers arrived. By 1874 all had departed having found that there were few ways to have their fish transported to what transpired to be a limited market. The sealers also struggled with the difficulties of cutting their sections out of the bush and with the lack of medical services and schooling. The large eucalyptus trees that front the site are the most obvious reminder of the brief settlement.
Gold-mining has its own, albeit brief, place in Stewart Island/Rakiura history, following the discovery of gold at Port William/Potirepo in 1866. The discovery caused much excitement and a rush of prospecting to the north and west of Port William/Potirepo occurred, along with mining activity on other parts of the Island, most notably at Port Pegasus/Pikihatiti. The rush was short-lived other than at the Port Pegasus field and mining on Stewart Island/Rakiura never progressed beyond prospecting.
Timber milling was an important industry for Stewart Island/Rakiura and was carried out with fluctuating financial success from the 1860s through into the 1930s. However, the economic promise of its forests continued to entice Southland sawmillers to Stewart Island/Rakiura.
The first milling was at Sawmill Bay, Kaipipi, and the last mill to close was at Māori Beach, Port William/Potirepo. Milling was mostly confined to the area between the Murray River and North Arm, with the exception of the two mills on the south side of Paterson Inlet/Whaka a Te Wera, at Hapuatuna Bay and later at South-west Bay. The industry has left a rich heritage in the remains of tramlines, sawmill sites, jetties, wharfs, sawmill and hauler boilers, and associated settlements.
As the Oban/Paterson Place has been the most persistent area of settlement on Stewart Island/Rakiura, there are a number of places of historical significance not on public conservation lands. The Department of Conservation works with local government, iwi and the community to protect and manage historical and cultural heritage on and off public conservation lands and particularly at the following sites:
Places adjacent to and/or overlapping into public conservation lands
- Ulva Island post office
- Traill grave and historic trees.
Places registered by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust
- Ackers’ stone bulding at Harrold Bay – c. 1834
- Travellers Rest accommodation house.
Places in the coastal marine area
- Golden Bay boatsheds
- Leask Bay boatsheds
- Lonnekers Beach boatsheds
- Petersons Hill boatsheds.
Monuments and cemeteries
- Wohler’s monument and graves, above Ringaringa Beach
- Braggs Bay cemetery
- Horseshoe Bay cemetery.
Places administered by the Southland District Council
- Moturau Moana Gardens
- Norwegian whalers’ over-wintering base at Kaipipi (partly on private land)
- Privately owned places of high historical significance
- Little Moturau/Noeline Baker house, Elgin Terrace
- Whalers’ house at 19 Golden Bay Road
- Moeamoea – former manager’s house from the Norwegian whalers’ base, Rankin Street
- Oban Presbyterian Church Sunday School room – former bunkroom from the Norwegian whalers’ base.
The following historical and cultural sites within the Oban/Paterson Place are actively managed by the Department of Conservation:
- Gallons Sawmill Site, Kaipipi Harbour
- the Māori Beach sawmill site and log haulers
- the Port William/Potirepo settlement site.
The site of the former whaling base at Prices Inlet, Kaipipi is not on public conservation land, but the Department of Conservation will work with tāngata whenua, the owners, local authorities and the community to ensure that the historical values of this site are protected and managed.
2.2.5 Public benefit and enjoyment
A large number of recreational activities are undertaken within the Oban/Paterson Place due to the ease of access. The coastline surrounding Paterson Inlet/Whaka a Te Wera is particularly popular. The primary means of access is by watercraft, including kayaks. The country extending inland from the southern shores of Paterson Inlet/Whaka a Te Wera from South-west Arm to Big Glory Bay is popular with recreational hunters with a number of hunting blocks available for use.
Many of the islands, bays, beaches and coves within Paterson Inlet/Whaka a Te Wera receive visitors on a daily basis. Use of these areas is often associated with recreational fishing, hunting and diving as well as general sightseeing. The islands within Paterson Inlet/Whaka a Te Wera, particularly Ulva Island, have special significance as some of them are free from introduced animals. People visiting these islands gain an appreciation and understanding of conservation management on islands and the effects that introduced animals such as feral cats, deer, rats and possums have on native species. As the islands of Paterson Inlet/Whaka a Te Wera are easy to access they have an important role to play in this education. The historical and cultural heritage of Paterson Inlet/Whaka a Te Wera also provides enjoyment for people with the remains of the early sawmilling and whaling industries being popular destinations.
Oban/Paterson Place is a Place for the local people of Stewart Island/Rakiura who use it both for recreation and as a workplace. Commercial uses are primarily tourism and associated activities such as water taxis and guided boat-based trips. Marine farming also occurs in Big Glory Bay.
The portion of the Oban/Paterson Place that includes Rakiura National Park contains a number of popular tracks. In particular, the tracks to Māori Beach and Kaipipi are popular with day visitors, given their proximity to the settlement and stunning coastal scenery. The Rakiura Track, managed by the Department of Conservation as a Great Walk, receives approximately 3000 visitors per year. This track provides an easily accessible overnight tramping experience and is suitable for those new to the outdoors.
The Oban/Halfmoon Bay community buffer section of the Oban/Paterson Place provides a number of direct and indirect benefits to people. It forms the main catchment for the Oban/Halfmoon Bay water scheme as well as providing land for the Oban sewerage scheme. The buffer zone may in the future provide some opportunities for the future expansion of services and activities associated with the Oban/Halfmoon Bay community.
Enjoyable and easily accessible by a wide range of people, the Oban/Halfmoon Bay community reserves give visitors a taste of the Stewart Island/Rakiura environment. Popular sites include the Observation Rock track with its views over Paterson Inlet/Whaka a Te Wera, the Golden Bay track and the Ackers Point track. The tracks within these reserves are designed to cater for large numbers of visitors.
Much of the special character of the Oban/Halfmoon Bay settlement is derived from the substantial amount of original and regenerating native bush in the area. The reserves of public conservation land dotted around the settlement form an integral part of this character.
Section 1.5 – Public benefit and enjoyment, describes the various recreational opportunity settings provided and managed by the Department of Conservation. Oban/Paterson Place is being managed as a frontcountry opportunity due to the values and uses described in this section. The following objectives and policies should be read in addition to the frontcountry settings as provided for by the recreational opportunity settings described in Section 1.5.1.
2.2.6 Outcome, objectives and policies
The conservation lands, harbours and waterways close to the Halfmoon Bay/Oban settlement are the extension of the community’s backyard and the gateway to Rakiura National Park. The community enjoys fresh air, bird song, and the ability to take visitors to share a bush or water experience with ease. A portion of the nationally significant marine environment of Paterson Inlet/Whaka a Te Wera is protected. Facilities with a community purpose and benefit are developed consistent with the conservation values. Historical and cultural heritage, archaeological sites and Māori cultural landscapes are protected and respected.
The Oban/Paterson Place provides the opportunity for recreational and tourism activities that showcase and explore the unique historical, cultural and natural values of the Island. This Place can accommodate a relatively high number of visitors compared to the rest of Stewart Island/Rakiura. Close proximity to the Oban settlement provides access to many historical, cultural, archaeological and scenic sites, short and half-day walks, catering for a variety of interests and capabilities. Concessionaire use is encouraged, provided it complements the intrinsic values and visitor experience of the Place.
- To acknowledge the relationship of tāngata whenua with regard to the management of Paterson Inlet and the Paterson Inlet/Te Whaka a Te Wera Mataitai Reserve.
- To preserve, protect and manage the indigenous biodiversity, natural landscapes, natural character, historical and cultural heritage and archaeological sites present in the Place.
- To protect and manage the Ulva Island/Te Wharawhara Marine Reserve.
- To encourage and focus future growth in recreational activities, visitor numbers and concessionaire use of the Stewart Island/Rakiura CMS area within this Place while ensuring visitor experiences are enhanced and intrinsic values, natural resources, historical and cultural heritage values are not diminished.
- To provide interpretation at appropriate sites within the Oban/Paterson Place to enhance visitor experience.
- To encourage and support community-based conservation initiatives aimed at controlling introduced animals and plants.
- To work with local authorities, tāngata whenua and the community to achieve integrated management of the natural landscapes, character, historical and cultural heritage, and archaeological sites within the Stewart Island/Rakiura CMS area.
- Should continue to manage pest-free islands within the Oban/Paterson Place. Preventing the reinvasion of pest species, particularly those that are currently absent, should be a priority.
- Should monitor and report on the Ulva Island/Te Wharawhara Marine Reserve.
- Should liaise and consult with tāngata whenua and the community regarding the management of the Oban/Paterson Place, including cultural sites and the marine environment (see section 1.1 – Treaty of Waitangi responsibilities).
- Will work with local community-based organisations and landowners to undertake appropriate introduced animal and plant control and ecological restoration initiatives.
- Should authorise concessionaire activities on public conservation land within the Oban/Paterson Place, including low impact activities that foster an appreciation of the area’s conservation values and are consistent with the outcomes sought for the Place.
- Should focus any future concession initiatives - for example, mountain biking - within the Oban/Paterson Place. Applications should be consistent with the outcome sought and any adverse effects should be avoided, remedied or mitigated.
- Should manage concession activities to avoid, remedy, or mitigate the impact on the visitor experience. To achieve this the following limits should apply:
- Manage the Halfmoon Bay/Oban community reserves, the Halfmoon Bay/Oban Community buffer and the Paterson Inlet islands as a frontcountry recreational opportunity. Generally there should be a maximum party size of 15 for guided parties (including guides), however a maximum party size of 30 may be appropriate for periodic tour parties (see section 1.5 – Public benefit and enjoyment). For public conservation land on Ulva Island refer to the Rakiura National Park Management Plan;
- Manage the Rakiura Track as a backcountry corridor. There should be a maximum party size of 15 (including guides). Concessionaires offering day walking opportunities should be focused on the northern portion of this track between Lee Bay, the haulers (Māori Beach) and Port William/Potirepo in the first instance; and
- Manage the part of the southern shoreline of Paterson Inlet/Whaka a Te Wera within the Oban/Paterson Place as a backcountry recreational opportunity. There should be a maximum party size of 15 (including guides). See Map 10.
- Should restrict concessionaires offering guided overnight walking on the Rakiura Track to 50 per cent of the available bed space in the Port William and North Arm huts.
- May upgrade the Fern Gully track to a day-visitor standard.
- Will work with the New Zealand Historic Places Trust and other organisations and agencies to identify historical, archaeological and cultural sites within the Oban/Paterson Place, and undertake measures to ensure their protection.
- Should not authorise concessions on public conservation land on Native Island, due to its cultural sensitivity to tāngata whenua.
- Should investigate unifying the status of the Oban/Halfmoon Bay community reserves under the most appropriate legal status. This should be undertaken as a separate public process to allow adequate public consultation.
- Will work with the Southland District Council with regard to the management of dogs on public conservation land to ensure any adverse effects on natural values and other users are avoided.
- Will work with tāngata whenua, the Rakiura community, private landowners and the Southland District Council with regard to the management and maintenance of tracks outside of public conservation land. A joint approach to the management of these tracks should be encouraged.
- Should recognise the desire of the community for more renewable sources of energy and acknowledge that the location for any infrastructure associated with this is likely to be within the boundaries of the Oban/Paterson Place. These should be located where the adverse effects of the infrastructure can be avoided or otherwise minimised.
- Will advocate to local authorities and private landowners through the Resource Management Act 1991, bylaws and other processes to:
- achieve the protection of areas of significant natural vegetation;
- achieve the protection of the natural landscapes and seascapes of Paterson Inlet/Whaka a Te Wera and Port William/Poteripo; and
- ensure that the values of the marine ecosystems of Paterson Inlet/Whaka a Te Wera and Port William/Poteripo are recognised in planning documents;
- ensure that the adverse effects of renewable energy sources are avoided or otherwise minimised, where this can be achieved they should be focused in the first instance in the Oban/Paterson Place.