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Have your say: Ninety Mile Beach plan - Te Oneroa-a-Tohe

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The public will have until early next month (subs: Friday 09 October) to provide feedback on a long-awaited draft of a formal management plan for Te Oneroa-a-Tōhe/Ninety Mile Beach.

Established through Treaty of Waitangi settlement legislation, the eight-member Te Oneroa-a-Tōhe Board has an even split of iwi and local government members and has been tasked with developing a management plan for the iconic beach.

Beach board chair Haami Piripi (Te Rarawa) says the comprehensive, Draft Te Rautaki o Te Oneroa-a-Tōhe (Te Oneroa-a-Tōhe Beach Management Plan) represents a great deal of work - including substantial previous public input - over the past 18 months.

The draft will be available online at www.teoneroa-a-tohe.nz from Monday 14 September, and the feedback period runs until Friday 09 October.

Mr Piripi says Te Oneroa-a-Tōhe/Ninety Mile Beach has great cultural, historical and spiritual significance - not just to the five local iwi who make up Te Hiku o Te Ika - but to the wider community (Māori and non-Māori alike) New Zealand-wide starting with Ta Ara Wairua (the spiritual pathway).

"Unfortunately, in 2020, the mauri of Te Oneroa-a-Tōhe is showing signs of fatigue, with the scars of historical damage neglect, pollution and abusive behaviour being observed by present generations."

The draft plan covers a broad range of activities - including cultural, resource management and economic considerations and is designed to reflect public concerns/feedback already expressed to the board, including the care and safety of all users and visitors to the beach, acknowledging tangata whenua and protecting the environment.

It also includes proposed speed limits of 30km/h within 200-metres of any beach accessway or any activity (for example boat launching, people fishing etc) on the beach. A 60km/h limit is proposed for the remainder of the beach.

Mr Piripi says the board’s purpose is to provide governance and direction to everyone with a role in - or responsibility for - Te Oneroa-a-Tōhe management area in order to protect environmental, economic, social, cultural and spiritual wellbeing within that area for the benefit of present and future generations.

"The board’s collective focus has always been on getting the balance of the draft plan right, believing its importance and likely longevity means it is not something that should be rushed and it’s crucial that everyone who wants to is able to express their views and have these considered."

He says the draft plan broadly reflects aspirations for three priority matters;

- Protecting and preserving the beach from inappropriate use and development and ensuring resources are preserved and enhanced for present and future generations

- Recognising the importance of the beach for Te Hiku o Te Ika iwi/hapū and ensuring continued access to mahinga kai

- Recognising and providing for spiritual, cultural and historic relationships with the beach.

Mr Piripi encourages as many people as possible to take advantage of the consultation period, saying the plan offered an incredible opportunity to give effect to a vision for the beach many - especially Māori - would not have had thought possible.

"(Treaty of Waitangi) claims have been heard, grievances established and institutional arrangements righted. All that remains is for New Zealanders to embrace this opportunity…"

He says feedback can be done online, posted or dropped off in person at the Kaitāia offices of Northland Regional Council or Far North District Council, or any main office of NgāiTakoto, Te Rarawa, Te Aupōuri or Ngāti Kuri.

"Come along and talk to board members and staff who can assist you in completing your feedback form.

"Our calendar of events will be advertised on www.teoneroa-a-tohe.nz, the local newspaper or you can email us at info@teoneroa-a-tohe.nz."

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