NZCA’s advice to the Minister
On 7 March 2014, following further discussions at their meeting in February, the Authority wrote to the Minister of Conservation formally recommending the establishment of a Kauri National Park. They recommended that it should comprise Waipoua Forest, parts of the Kawerau Conservation Area, Kawerau Marginal Strip No.1, Gorrie Scenic Reserve, Donelly’s Crossing Scenic Reserve, Marlborough Road Scenic Reserve, Katui Scenic Reserve, Trounson Kauri Park Scenic Reserve and Trounson Addition Scenic Reserve, but exclude Mataihi Wetland Scientific Reserve.
The Authority noted matters that needed particular consideration by the Minister, including:
- Recognition of the mana, kaitiakitanga and tikanga of Te Roroa within Waipoua Forest and protection of wahi tapu sites
- Identification and assessment of the national, regional and local economic, social, recreational and cultural implications of a change in land status
- Maintenance of National Park values, particularly the indigenous flora and fauna of the investigation area
- The outstanding Treaty claims
NZCA consideration of the Department’s report
The Kauri National Park Committee approached the Te Roroa Manawhenua Trust seeking their views on the National Park proposal. A hui was arranged on 29 September 2012 with Committee members, Te Roroa affiliates, and Department staff. Public meetings and hearings of two submitters were held on 8 & 9 March 2013 and the Committee met with the Te Roroa Manawhenua Trust chair and three trustees on 27 April 2013. Te Roroa did not support the National Park proposal at this time and suggested eight conditions that need to be considered for its approval of the National Park.
An analysis of the report was undertaken by the Authority, outlining the investigation into the new National Park proposal, and making recommendations to the Minister that arose from the investigation.
At the NZCA meeting on 12 December 2013, the Authority resolved to receive the report of the Kauri National Park Proposal Investigating Committee.
The Authority was satisfied that the investigation area, as identified, met the criteria for national parks set out in the National Parks Act and the General Policy for National Parks 2005. There were a number of substantial considerations, however, that were alluded to in the report which the Authority considered needed resolution. In particular:
- The role that Te Roroa would have in the governance and management of the national park
- There needed to be a commitment to mitigation options to lower the threat to the kauri ecosystem from PTA and animal pests
- An in-depth assessment of the social, cultural, recreational and economic implications for Te Roroa and local and regional communities, as well as the nation generally, was required
- Settlement of WAI 1857
- Integration of future Treaty Settlements needed to be addressed
Report presented to NZCA
On 13 June 2012 the then Director-General of Conservation, Al Morrison, presented his report investigating the values of public conservation land centred on Waipoua Forest (Northland), for national park status, to the New Zealand Conservation Authority.
The NZCA set up a Committee to consider the report in detail. The members of this Committee were:
- Yvonne Sharp (Convenor)
- Judy Hellstrom
- Warren Parker
The NZCA's role in the Kauri National Park Process
Since the passing of the first National Parks Act in 1952, there has been a national citizen body with functions and powers relating to national parks. Since 1990 the New Zealand Conservation Authority has had this citizen body role. This reflects the view of Parliament and the people of New Zealand that national parks are national treasures and transcend party politics.
As well as this ‘national’ importance, the intricate and intrinsic connection of local communities with national parks is recognised. This includes both tangata whenua whose connection with the lands and waters of the national parks stretch back hundreds of years, and more recent immigrants to New Zealand whose associations with those lands and waters are of a different nature.
A national park can only be established, or added to, on the recommendation of the New Zealand Conservation Authority. And only the New Zealand Conservation Authority can kick off the process to establish or add to a national park.
In its 2008 general election manifesto, the National Party undertook to investigate the merits of establishing a national park in the kauri forests of Northland. After National formed the Government that year, the Minister of Conservation asked the New Zealand Conservation Authority to start the investigation process.
Earlier that same year, Te Roroa iwi reached a final settlement with the Crown of its Treaty claims and this settlement Act provided a framework within which Te Roroa, the New Zealand Conservation Authority, the Northland Conservation Board and the Department of Conversation could each consider and discuss the proposal.
The Department and Te Roroa worked together to identify conservation land within the rohe of Te Roroa which they both thought could be suitable for national park status and they recommended that that be the area investigated. The core of the area is Waipoua Forest; the home of Tane Mahuta and other kauri giants.
The New Zealand Conservation Authority accepted their recommendation.
The investigation itself was undertaken by the Department of Conservation in the name of its Director-General under the National Parks Act 1980.
When the Department completed its investigation, the Director-General of Conservation reported to the New Zealand Conservation Authority on the findings, and made recommendations.
Once the New Zealand Conservation Authority received the report it followed a process that enabled it to make a well-informed decision about what to recommend to the Minister of Conservation.
The New Zealand Conservation Authority has a particular duty to consult Te Roroa about the values that the Authority identifies within a core area of special significance to Te Roroa known as Te Tarehu which covers most of the Waipoua Forest.