An iwi plan for the future of Wellington's three harbour islands has been signed off at a ceremony at Parliament today.
The Wellington Harbour Management Plan, which brings together a governance framework for Wellington's three harbour islands, was drafted by the Wellington Harbour Islands Kaitiaki Board with help from iwi and the Conservation Department.
In 2009, Matiu/Somes, Makaro/Ward and Mokopuna Islands were included in the Treaty of Waitangi cultural redress for Taranaki Whanui - the collective name for four Wellington-based iwi.
Ownership was returned to iwi at that time with joint governance with the Conservation Department.
The Port Nicholson Block Settlement Trust manages the treaty settlement package.
The new plan sets down the guiding principles for the harbour islands and states iwi will have an enduring presence on the islands and that the islands will be accessible to the public.
The plan also sets out the need to improve the visitor centre on Matiu Island, get rid of or upgrade some aged infrastructure already on the islands and to install bilingual signage.
Kaitiaki Board chairman Mark Te One said it was a great pleasure to finally be able to develop a plan for the future. ''We have a lot to do, that's for sure, but we will stick at it.''
Conservation Minister Kate Wilkinson said she thought it was fantastic to have the guiding principles. ''It's only part of the journey but it sets the direction.''
The islands will continue to be managed jointly by the Conservation Department and iwi.
Guiding principles for management of Harbour Islands:
- The islands will become self-sustaining and noted for their sustainability outcomes.
- Taranaki Whanui ki Te Upoko o Te Ika will have an enduring presence on the Islands, reflecting the Treaty settlement.
- The tranquil and healing nature of the islands will be maintained and protected.
- The islands will be accessible to the public and will provide a unique visitor experience.
- The indigenous flora and fauna of the islands will be restored and protected
- Maori heritage and other cultural heritage of the islands will be protected and promoted.
- The islands will provide educational opportunities.
- Management of the islands will foster community cohesion and participation.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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