Conservation Minister Kate Wilkinson was in Whanganui today to celebrate the completion of the Whanganui National Park Management Plan.
The plan sets out the philosophy and priorities for the management of the park for conservation and recreation purposes, and provides strategic direction and day-to-day guidance on the management of Whanganui National Park.
“The management plan makes it clear that the connection between the Whanganui River, its people and the forests of Whanganui National Park is an important one for the region. The plan embraces that connection, and highlights the cultural, historic and ecological significance of the park,” says Ms Wilkinson.
“Most importantly, this plan sets a course for DOC and Whanganui Iwi to work in a spirit of partnership and take an increasingly shared approach to caring for Whanganui National Park.”
Ms Wilkinson was joined by Dr Kay Booth from the New Zealand Conservation Authority as copies of the plan were presented to the Taranaki – Whanganui Conservation Board Chair Darryn Ratana and Department of Conservation Conservator Damian Coutts. Dr Te Tiwha Puketapu, Chair of the Whanganui River Maori Trust Board was also presented a copy in recognition of the statutory role the board has to engage proactively with the Department on behalf of iwi.
The plan highlights the importance of the partnerships in and around Whanganui National Park, including Horizons Regional Council, landowners and iwi around the Kia Wharite project and with district councils and iwi for the Mountains to Sea Cycle Trail.
“I am particularly pleased to see that a core theme of the plan is maximising the opportunities for partnerships with iwi, with territorial authorities and with landowners. It’s fantastic to see the increasing involvement of tangata whenua in the management of the park and I hope this involvement continues to grow in the future,” says Ms Wilkinson.