How can an iwi rebuild an economic base from its Treaty of Waitangi Settlement land whilst also protecting the land’s high natural and recreational values? For Te Uri o Hau, the solution lies in the approval of a private Plan Change and the gifting of a 196-hectare reserve for conservation and public recreation.
In July 2014, private Plan Change 166 was approved, enabling the Te Arai Coastal Lands Trust, a joint partnership between Te Uri o Hau and Te Arai Land Holdings Limited, to proceed with a land use solution that involved limited residential development in exchange for the vesting of a significant new coastal reserve at Te Arai, near Mangawhai, north of Auckland. In September, Auckland Council accepted the offered Te Arai reserve land.
These decisions mark the resolution of more than ten years’ of effort by Te Uri o Hau to gain a return from the commercial redress land it purchased from the Crown as part of its Treaty settlement. Boffa Miskell has provided statutory planning, landscape assessment and ecological assessment services to the Trust across this time, including preparing the request for the Plan Change, presenting expert evidence at the hearings, consulting with submitters and participating in Environment Court mediation that settled appeals.
The new Te Arai Reserve will protect the coastal dune system and the Te Arai Stream riparian margins. With its 10-kilometre Hauraki Gulf beachfront, it will form an ecological corridor connecting the Department of Conservation’s Mangawhai Wildlife Refuge in the north with the Council-owned Te Arai Point reserve in the south.
A new international standard golf course is almost completed on the Trust’s remaining land. The new land uses will be subject to strict environmental protection and enhancement conditions including funding and active protection for the endangered fairy tern and northern dotterel shorebird populations. There will also be ongoing community liaison, a shorebird management regime, the gradual replacement of pine forest with native vegetation, and revegetation of the coastal margin.
Boffa Miskell has prepared various resource consents associated with the golf course, prepared a range of management plans to ensure the environmental benefits are delivered, and has an ongoing role monitoring the shorebird populations. We are currently involved in the proposed Auckland Unitary Plan process to secure the outcomes achieved through the plan change.