The opportunity to be part of creating a new regional park for Ahuriri is an exciting proposal – and we want to know what you think.
Instead of questioning if we can afford to do this, the question should be – can we afford not to?
We have the chance to protect and enhance the habitat for our precious taonga, the Ahuriri Estuary which has been neglected for too long. The proposed new Ahuriri Regional Park would deliver environmental outcomes as a priority as well as providing cultural and recreational opportunities than are presently available.
The Regional Council currently manages four regional parks on behalf of the Hawke’s Bay community at Pekapeka, Pākōwhai, Waitangi and Tūtira, and I think it’s fair to say most people would consider each one to be a jewel in our region’s crown.
Our main aim through managing each regional park is to enhance the environment, but also to provide a place for human interaction, interest and reflection. Of particular pride is the work done in Tūtira. Our soil conservation efforts began in the 1980s with a long-term planting programme to substantially reduce sediment run-off into the lake. Just this summer, local tangata whenua led the lifting of the swim ban on Lake Tūtira after years of poor water quality and algal blooms.
We now have a unique opportunity at Ahuriri Estuary to create a new regional park and make the environmental improvements that the people of Napier have been seeking for some time.
The Regional Council with Napier City Council has been in discussions with Mana Ahuriri for over five years on how to develop this significant area into a regional park. This project is very much a partnership between all three entities, and the entire Te Komiti Muriwai o Te Whanga will be involved.
First and foremost this is about helping to protect and enhance the habitat of the estuary. Secondly, this is a chance to explore this area’s cultural values, recreational and educational opportunities. It will provide the chance for everyone to learn from the initial impact humans have had on the estuary, with a new focus on solutions that build-back the mana of our precious estuary.
There are many waterways, estuaries and wetlands in Napier and Hastings that need to be cared for.
Every urban dweller contributes to stormwater, and it’s no longer appropriate for us to knowingly let our human activities cause negative effects in the estuary.
The proposed Ahuriri Regional Park prioritises our environment and biodiversity enhancement. It will see habitats restored and enhanced. It’s also planned that a proposed wetland in the park will filter urban stormwater before it can get into the estuary.
My personal aspiration is that in future time of my adult children and mokopuna, they can collect kaimoana and swim in the Ahuriri Lagoon, once the mighty Te Whanganui a Orotu, all year round without the risk of getting sick. It’s vitally important for all our mokopuna who will become the kaitiaki and carers for our future environment to have such a space like a Regional Park to learn about and experience the concepts of kaitiakitanga.
The Regional Council needs to bravely address the environmental issues facing us now, and not leave them for the next generation to have to sort out. We’re proposing to set aside a significant investment of $10 million dollars over the next ten years for our work to develop this park from a concept to a reality. We are teaming up with the Napier City Council supported by their Councillors to match our proposed investment in the Regional Park.
What do you think? We want you, our community, to consider whether you agree with the actions we’re proposing in our Long Term Plan.
Head to hbrc.govt.nz to see our full consultation document, and to find out further details about the proposed Ahuriri Regional Park and the five other topics we are consulting on.
Most importantly – have your say. We want to know what you think. What do you like about Ahuriri Regional Park proposal? What do you think is affordable? What do you think we can afford not to do?
Consultation closes on Sunday 2 May, so have your say.
30 April 2021
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