This is how we're responding in Waimakariri.
Restoring Tūhaitara Coastal Park
Tūhaitara Coastal Park covers approximately 800ha of land along the coastline from the Waimakariri River mouth to the settlement of Waikuku Beach. Stretching along the coast for 10.5 kilometres, it comprises many natural features of local, regional and national importance and was established as an outcome of the Ngāi Tahu Settlement with the Crown, with the lands being gifted to the people of New Zealand.
The area is predominantly plantation pine forest and sand dunes. However, the park includes areas of national and regional significance including the Tūtaepatu Lagoon, Taranaki Stream and Saltwater Creek freshwater coastal system, and The Pines Wetland.
The Tūhaitara Coastal Park provides a range of opportunities to preserve Ngāi Tahu values, retain and enhance rare indigenous biodiversity and provide recreational and educational opportunities for all people. The area is rich in history and residents of the original Kaiapoi Pā and more recently, members of the Tūahuriri Rūnanga have had a close relationship with the landscape.
Tūtaepatu Lagoon was once a rich and important source of mahinga kai and the area surrounding the lagoon contains the urupa for Turakautahi, who was the founder of Kaiapoi Pā.
There is also a significant forestry block in the coastal areas between Kairaki and Waikuku. During their growth phase the trees work hard turning carbon dioxide into oxygen, protecting the dune system in Pegasus Bay, as well as providing shelter from Canterbury’s famous Nor’wester.
The coastal park is an excellent example of what can be achieved when restoration and conservation measures are taken seriously. Waterways such as wetlands and swamps have been shown to be critical to survival of species and it’s fortunate that Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu and other stakeholders in this project have recognised the area’s value for generations to come.