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Improving the health of the harbour is a goal we can all strive for and contribute towards.

 

August marks the one year anniversary since Te Hapū o Ngāti Wheke, Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, Environment Canterbury, Christchurch City Council, and the Lyttelton Port Company signed a Memorandum of Understanding committing to work together to create an action plan for restoring the cultural and ecological health of Whakaraupō.

The need for these organisations to work together on creating a Whakaraupō/Lyttelton Harbour Catchment Plan was identified during the Lyttelton Port Recovery Plan hearings in 2015 when many members of the community and Ngāti Wheke asked for a long-term and coordinated commitment to improving the health of the harbour by looking at all activities happening in the catchment.

And so for the past 12 months, we’ve had numerous people from each of these five organisations working hard to develop a plan which we hope will resonate with you and one that future generations will be excited to see it come to fruition.

We’ve sought advice from many different sources, including scientists who provided advice on the gaps in understanding and monitoring of Whakaraupō; Ngāti Wheke along with the other partners have provided us with ideas on potential projects we could include in the plan; and the community who have told us what matters most to them in the area.

Thank you to everyone who has assisted us during this time. We’re now at a point of drafting a long-term catchment management plan which will look toward 2040.

Looking that far ahead is no easy task and the governance group is keen to see a mixture of long-term projects and practical actions that everyone can contribute to now.

Suggestions we’ve received range from the installation of educational interpretation panels to large-scale, long-term projects such as restoration of the head of the harbour.

The final plan will include immediate restoration actions, ongoing monitoring and reporting, co-ordinated science to improve understanding, and looking at how we as partners coordinate and align our work programmes for the benefit of harbour health.

We will also consider the existing regulatory framework and if it supports our goals or if changes are needed.

Improving the health of the harbour is a goal we can all strive for and contribute towards.
Through this plan, we want to ensure that you as residents and businesses feel a connection and know how you too can help improve the harbour for future generations.

We hope that as a result of this work, we will once again be able to hear the morning chorus, to catch a fish or collect shellfish with our children to provide a meal for the family.

On raining days when the streams are rushing out into the harbour, we hope to look out and not see the sediment plume and ultimately we hope to see the native species of the catchment increase and return.

We will be engaging with communities and stakeholder groups on the draft plan in October. Keep an eye out on healthyharbour.org.nz for more information.

Yvette Couch-Lewis is the Chair of the Whakaraupō/Lyttelton Harbour CatchmentManagement Plan Governance Group.