The new East Coast/Hawke’s Bay Conservation Board held their inaugural meeting and field trip in Napier last week.
The seven members of the board are ministerial appointments and bring with them a range of skills and knowledge to their positions. Their role is to represent the community interest in the work of the Department of Conservation, and conservation in general.
The boards Chair, Mr John Wauchop, was encouraged to have such an enthusiastic group meet for the first time and be so positive around the plans for conservation in the East Coast Hawke’s Bay region. “The blend of their experience showed me that we have a board with good ears to hear the people’s voice around all the conservation aspirations locally “he said. “The spread of members should also allow us to have the breadth of coverage needed over such a rugged and beautiful part of New Zealand.”
The boards focus is on planning and strategic direction, not the day-to-day operational details of the Department's work. A major responsibility for each board is overseeing the Conservation Management Strategy (CMS) for its region. A CMS is a 10-year plan for managing and protecting the natural and historic features and wildlife of the region. CMSs are prepared by a board and the Department in consultation with the community and interested parties.
Reg Kemper, Director of Conservation Partnerships for the Lower North Island, oversees three different boards in his region.” Having the community able to connect to the places that are important to them is the future of conservation. The Conservation Board through its members is a strong way of making this connection” he said.
Members of the public are invited to attend the advertised meetings. A half hour public forum is also part of the meeting, whereby attendees can talk with the board informally.