A new conservation management strategy for Stewart Island and the first management plan for Rakiura National Park has been approved by the New Zealand Conservation Authority last week.
DOC is particularly pleased with the engagement from community groups, stakeholders and individuals from around the country in the development of the plans.
“It’s great that people are stepping up to have a say,” said Southern Islands Area Manager Andy Roberts. “We now have a management strategy that reflects significant engagement by a wide range of individuals and groups”
“Conservation is all about protecting and enhancing our special places so we can all enjoy them and see them prosper” he said. “But it’s a team effort, so the level of community engagement we had, along with input from various groups was really encouraging.”
Coming up with practical solutions, that work for all the individuals and groups involved - as well as satisfying statutory requirements - can often be challenging. However involving community groups to this level resulted in management strategies that are mutually beneficial.
“For example, recreational hunting groups and Federated Mountain Clubs contributed some particularly good ideas to problem solving throughout the process in relation to the location of huts.” Mr Roberts said. During the process, these two groups discussed their concerns about hut placements extensively and came up with a solution that worked for both parties, as well as DOC. “That’s the kind of collaboration that we’re keen to support.”
The New Zealand Conservation Authority met at Te Rau Aroha Marae in Bluff on 9 February and gave the plans the final tick of approval. The Authority complimented DOC’s Southland Conservancy on its approach to preparing the plans and in particular the inclusive consultation process with the community and user groups.
DOC’s Southland Conservancy will now turn its attention to the development of the conservation management strategy for other areas in Southland including mainland Southland, West Otago, and the subantarctic islands.
- A conservation management strategy is a ten-year regional strategy that provides an overview of conservation issues and gives directions for the management of public conservation land and waters, and species for which the Department of Conservation has responsibility. Conservation management strategies are required under the Conservation Act 1987 and are developed in accordance with the legislation under which DOC operates.
- A national park management plan is a ten-year statutory plan. It implements the conservation management strategy and establishes detailed objectives for the integrated management of natural and historical resources within a National Park. A national park management plan is required under the National Parks Act 1980.
- The Draft Stewart Island/Rakiura Conservation Management Strategy and Draft Rakiura National Park Management Plan were publicly notified in November 2008. Three hundred and sixteen submissions were received on the two draft planning documents. DOC held nine hearings from June 2009 through to August 2009; 50 submitters were heard on their written submissions.
- In April 2010 the draft planning documents were presented to the New Zealand Conservation Authority by the Southland Conservation Board and DOC.