Conservation Minister Dr Nick Smith today welcomed the awarding of the international Green Flag to five DOC sites around New Zealand from the Lake Matheson Walk in South Westland.
“These Green Flags are symbols of tourism excellence. They indicate these five DOC sites are premium destinations and well worth a visit by both New Zealanders and international visitors,” Dr Smith says.
“These latest recipients confirm what many of us already know – that our country is home to some of the best parks and green spaces in the world.”
The Green Flag Awards were established in the United Kingdom in 1996 to recognise and reward parks and green spaces that meet a set of eight criteria including sustainability, conservation and heritage, community involvement, and marketing.
The five DOC sites awarded the Green Flags for the first time this year are:
- Lake Matheson Walk, near Fox Glacier Village
- Ship Creek, Haast
- Ruakuri Walk, Waitomo
- Ruapekapeka Pa, Northland
- Wairongomai, Bay of Plenty
Green Flag status lasts one year, and each site is reassessed annually to determine whether it will retain its flag. Two sites previously awarded Green Flags – Karangahake Gorge in the Bay of Plenty and Pureora-Ongarue Timber Trail near Taupo – have both had their status renewed this year.
“By setting a benchmark of excellence for our parks and green spaces, these awards encourage more people to visit them by signalling they’re quality destinations,” Dr Smith says.
“They also help agencies that manage them, like DOC, to focus on the needs of people visiting the sites and to ensure they’re providing top quality facilities.
“As well as promoting New Zealand’s stunning scenery and rich history, the Green Flags are a testament to the hard work of DOC in managing these sites.
“We’re fortunate to live in a country with as much natural beauty as ours. I encourage everyone who gets the chance to go out to some of these sites and enjoy what’s on offer.”