Visit to Northland Conservation Board

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Recently I visited Northland Conservation Board as part of my programme of visits to all Conservation Boards around the country, to help foster close links between community conservation and DOC, iwi/hapu, community and other stakeholders and to facilitate conservation gains.

Northland Conservation Board was recognised nationally as one of the leading boards in terms of its operations and, in particular, the Board’s active engagement with local communities and iwi/hap? and for being the first Board nationally to complete the new Conservation Management Strategy.

Mita Harris is the Conservation Board Chair and was happy to meet with me to discuss priorities for the Board’s work programmes as outlined in the annual letter of expectations from the Minister of Conservation.

I joined Board members, staff from the Department of Conservation and Heritage New Zealand, and representatives from local hapu for an inspection of the Kororipo-Kerikeri Basin development and a visit to Puketi Forest.

Kauri dieback continues to be a top priority for the Board in the Puketi Forest and the cleaning stations were a harsh reminder that containment of the disease is currently the best weapon.  I also had the chance to see the progress of the restoration efforts by the Puketi Forest Trust.  Since they have been carrying out intensive pest and predator control, bird numbers have been gradually increasing, this is great news for the threatened kukupa/New Zealand pigeon species which  the Board promotes with the ‘Save the kukupa’ campaign.

At the Kerikeri Basin, I saw the new signage and interpretation panels, which celebrate the important historic, cultural, and natural heritage of the area and was particularly impressed with the excellent relationships within the Management Group for the Sustainable Development Plan for the Kororipo-Kerikeri Basin  which includes the Department of Conservation, Far North District Council and Heritage New Zealand.

The Board continues to raise awareness at a national level of Northland’s natural, historic, and cultural values and the issues affecting them, because these values are important intrinsically but also in terms of Northland’s economy and general wellbeing.

I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to visit the Northland Conservation Board and see the great work they are doing for conservation up north. I look forward to continuing to visit other Conservation Boards across the country in the coming months.