Trust offers coastal land to council
Te Uri o Hau is offering to gift between 130 and 172 hectares of coastal land to the Auckland Council to create a significant public reserve at Te Arai.
A district plan change hearing will determine how its development of the 616 hectare Mangawhai North Forest at Te Arai proceeds.
The development involves a golf course already under construction and up to 46 lots set in the coastal pine forest situated 90 minutes north of Auckland and just south of the Mangawhai Harbour.
Te Uri o Hau chief executive Deborah Harding said with the Auckland Council owning 87 hectares of adjoining land at Te Arai Point, a significant publicly owned coastal reserve of up to 250 hectares could be created if the land gift is accepted.
“The land we are offering to the council includes the areas of forest with the highest conservation values and the entire beach front strip. This would protect the beach and comprises a significant extension to the existing public reserves adjacent to the forest and already owned by the Auckland Council.
“This reserve will ensure the preservation of this unique beach environment which has recognised ecological and recreation value. It will also protect and provide for the enhancement of the Te Arai steam wetlands and riparian areas, and assist in protecting and provide for the enhancement of the habitats of endangered shorebirds.”
Additional planting and pest and predator control is also provided for through the plan change.
Establishing the park will continue to allow future generations to access and enjoy a unique resource, adds Ms Harding.
“Apart from some local opposition to any development at Te Arai, there is widespread acceptance that Te Arai’s redevelopment presents not a risk but the best chance of survival for threatened shorebirds which nest and breed near Te Arai, including New Zealand’s most endangered bird – the New Zealand fairy tern.
Ms Harding says they are supported by the Department of Conservation, Forest & Bird, and the Environmental Defence Society, who all withdrew their opposition to the plan change application after consultation and improvements.
“We have faced a number of challenges from councils and central government agencies to our plans at Te Arai. We have gone away and refined the plans, talking to all the major groups, and we now have a development plan which will create a significant regional asset at Te Arai.”