A document confirming public access to the three iwi-owned islands in Wellington Harbour has been approved at Parliament.
The Wellington Harbour Management Plan, drafted with help from Taranaki Whanui and the Department of Conservation, states iwi will have an enduring presence on Matiu/Somes, Makaro/Ward and Mokopuna islands, and that they will be accessible to the public.
The plan also sets out the need to improve the visitor centre on Matiu/Somes Island, get rid of or upgrade some aged infrastructure, and install bilingual signs.
The plan was drafted by the Wellington Harbour Islands Kaitiaki Board, whose 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," he said.
Conservation Minister Kate Wilkinson said she thought it was fantastic to have the guiding principles.
In 2009, the islands were included in the Treaty of Waitangi cultural redress for Taranaki Whanui, the collective name for four Wellington-based iwi. They will continue to be managed jointly by DOC and by iwi.
- The Dominion Post
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