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The Whakaraupō Healthy Harbour partnership has appointed a programme manager to oversee the implementation of the Whaka Ora Healthy Harbour plan.

Governors Bay resident Karen Banwell started in the role this month. She will be based at Rapaki, but also have the opportunity to spend time with each partner organisation. However, her main time will be out among the community.

The final plan, which was launched in March this year, sets out an aspirational vision for the harbour to restore the ecological and cultural health of Whakaraupō/Lyttelton Harbour as mahinga kai from the mountains to the sea.

It outlines actions to achieve that vision based on the principles of change-making, collaboration and providing a foundation that can be used for future generations.

Chair of the Whaka Ora Healthy Harbour governance group Yvette Couch-Lewis said community involvement was important to the five partners, Environment Canterbury, Te Hapū o Ngāti Wheke, Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, Christchurch City Council, and the Lyttelton Port Company.

Karen will be working with the Whakaraupō communities and partners to ensure the success of the plan, Yvette said.

Environment Canterbury zone delivery manager Paul Hulse said Karen would be an asset to the plan implementation team.

“She comes with a wealth of experience within plan implementation and has great connections with people in the Harbour already,” he said.

Karen has previously worked for Christchurch City Council and Environment Canterbury as a senior strategy advisor, but more recently as a strategic planning advisor at Regenerate Christchurch.

She is currently the chair of the Governors Bay Community Association, a trustee of the Avon Heathcote Estuary Ihutai Trust and recently completed a PhD in geography on community resilience.

This new role is particularly exciting as it combines Karen’s work experience with the things and places she loves.

“I was sent the job description by multiple people who said this is written for you.

“This job was pretty much a culmination of my work experience and what I love to do and I’m committed to working with the harbour community for ecological and cultural outcomes,” Karen said.

Karen’s appointment was officially announced at Lyttelton Primary School on Thursday.