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Review to consider Rangitahi / Molesworth future management

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

A review of the conservation management plan for Rangitahi/Molesworth Recreation Reserve is taking place to look afresh at how this spectacular high county reserve is managed.

The Department of Conservation and Te Rūnanga o Kaikōura are together leading the preparation of a new plan for the reserve. Rangitahi is the Te Rūnanga o Kaikōura and Ngāi Tahu name for this area. Using Rangitahi and Molesworth together gives mana to both names.

The 180,787-hectare Rangitahi/Molesworth Recreation Reserve runs from the Awatere Valley in Marlborough to the Hurunui District in North Canterbury and is a vast landscape of towering mountains and wide river valleys. DOC South Marlborough Operations Manager Phil Bradfield says public input into the plan review will guide the future management of Rangitahi/Molesworth Recreation Reserve.

"Rangitahi/Molesworth is New Zealand’s largest recreation reserve, bigger than many of our national parks. It is valued for its outstanding biodiversity and natural landscape, as a stunning environment for recreation and for its rich cultural heritage.

"The review of the 2013 Molesworth Management Plan provides fresh opportunity to consider how its significant features should be protected and managed for everyone to enjoy the reserve into the future. The review process includes opportunity for New Zealanders to share with us their aspirations for the reserve."

Te Rūnanga o Kaikōura Environmental Pou Leader/Coordinator Lorraine Hawke says, "The review is an opportunity to craft a plan to collaboratively care for the special taonga that is Rangitahi/Molesworth and guide decisions about its management for the future."

Before developing a draft plan, Te RÅ«nanga o Kaikōura and DOC will be inviting interested groups and individuals to make suggestions for Rangitahi/Molesworth’s future management. The feedback will contribute to the development of a draft plan. People can make suggestions through an online survey and find out more about the Rangitahi/Molesworth Conservation Management Plan review process on the DOC website at

The Nelson Marlborough Conservation Board and Molesworth Steering Committee, which advises on management of Rangitahi/Molesworth, will provide advice to Te Rūnanga o Kaikōura and DOC on the development of a draft plan.

Pāmu Farms of New Zealand has a lease for farming cattle on Rangitahi/Molesworth. It was due to expire at the end of June 2020 but was extended until June 2023 so the farming can continue while the plan review takes place.

The more than 4500 responses to a 2017 public survey that sought views on the future management of Rangitahi/Molesworth were taken into account in deciding to review the plan. The survey ran for four months from 15 December 2017. The survey results showed desire for increased protection of the reserve’s biodiversity and natural landscape along with increased access for recreation, enhancement of its cultural and historic heritage, and environmentally sustainable farming.

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