Image: Brian Dobbie | DOC

Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication. 


Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, Te Rūnanga o Ngati Waewae and Te Rūnanga o Makaawhio will formally welcome the Western South Island stewardship land national panel to the West Coast with a pōwhiri at the Arahura marae near Hokitika today.

Date:  25 January 2022

The Minister of Conservation, Kiritapu Allan, will attend alongside Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu Kaiwhakahaere Lisa Tumahai, Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu Kaihautū (CEO) Arihia Bennett, the national and mana whenua panel members, and DOC's Director General, Penny Nelson.

“This pōwhiri is an incredible honour for the national panel members,” says DOC Director Operations Karl Beckert.

“We value Ngāi Tahu’s participation and advice as the mana whenua panel and the national panel progress with the reclassification of stewardship land within the Ngāi Tahu takiwā.

“The mana whenua panel will work alongside the national panel to support them to make revised land classification recommendations to the Minister of Conservation,” says Karl Beckert.

The national panel will carry out technical assessments of the conservation and cultural values of stewardship land areas.

Developing recommendations on revised land classifications is expected to take eight months for each region.

“DOC is working closely with both panels to ensure they are supported and have a clear understanding of the scope of their work.

“We understand that there is strong interested in this project across the West Coast. There will be an opportunity for the public to provide feedback on the recommendations through a public consultation process,” says Karl Beckert.

Background information

  • In late May 2021 the Acting Minister of Conservation announced the Government is accelerating the reclassification of stewardship land to ensure land with conservation values is protected for future generations to enjoy. To ensure that this land is reclassified promptly and effectively the project comprises of:
    • national panels who will assess the conservation values of parcels of stewardship land and provide a recommendation as to their new classification to the Minister of Conservation
    • legislative amendments to ensure that the process for reclassifying stewardship land is fit-for-purpose.
  • Stewardship areas (commonly referred to as stewardship land) are ‘conservation areas’ under the Conservation Act which are managed to protect the natural and historic values present on the land.
  • Around 30% of public conservation land is stewardship areas, approximately 2,700,000 ha or 9% of New Zealand.
  • The Ngāi Tahu-appointed mana whenua panel members are:
    • Francois Tumahai, Chair of Ngāti Waewae Rūnanga
    • Paul Madgwick, Chair of Makaawhio Rūnanga
    • Maurice Manawatū, Te Rūnanga o Kaikōura Cultural Pou Chair
    • Gail Thompson, Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu appointee (Rūnanga Representative from Awarua)
  • The national panels, appointed by the Minister of Conservation, comprise technical experts with capability in ecology, earth sciences, landscape, recreation, heritage and mātauranga Māori.

More information about the national panels can be found at Stewardship land reclassification – national panels


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