Securing New Zealand’s Forgotten Lands
#4gotn Campaign authorised by Robin G McNeill for Federated Mountain Clubs of NZ, 19 Tory Street, Wellington
WHAT ARE OUR FORGOTTEN LANDS?
Our Forgotten Lands are public lands that passed into the management of the Department of Conservation in 1987 and were placed into the temporary, ‘holding pen’, designation of stewardship land. More than 10% of New Zealand is still classified as stewardship land, with its final status in limbo. Stewardship lands lack the level of protection and active management afforded to other areas managed under the Conservation Act 1987, or the National Parks Act 1980. They have become our Forgotten Lands.
WHY THEY NEED PROTECTION
Politicians and public administrators have forgotten our stewardship lands. They see them as less important than national and conservation parks. Lack of government action has allowed business to apply pressure to develop these public lands for mining, hydro-electric generation and ski-fields. Both the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment (PCE) and the NZ Conservation Authority have criticised this inaction.
GOVERNMENT ACTION OVERDUE
Stewardship lands need urgent government action. DOC must have the authority and resources for this task.
FMC proposes formal incorporation of eight outstanding natural areas into conservation parks, recreation parks, or national parks.
1. Coromandel Peninsula: The Coromandel is a national treasure on Auckland’s doorstep. Thousands of visitors enjoy its warm climate, white sandy beaches and lush flora and fauna. The Government must give priority to protecting areas of stewardship land on the peninsula such as the Tairua Forest.
2. Whareorino: Whareorino Conservation Area is one of the King Country’s most scenic forested areas. Backcountry tramping, hunting and fly fishing are popular in the upper reaches of the Awakino River. The Mangaohae Valley in Tawarau Forest provides accessible hiking in native forest with stunning limestone cliffs. This land must receive higher protection.
3. Rangataua Forest, South Ruapehu: Rangataua Conservation Area is a 6710 ha block on the southern flank of Mt Ruapehu, just below the round-the-mountain track. It adjoins Tongariro National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
4. Waitotara Forest, Whanganui–Taranaki: The PCE has called for better protection of the Waitotara Forest. The scenic and recreational values of this area deserve formal protection through amalgamation with adjacent Whanganui National Park. Day and overnight trampers, hunters and bird-watchers visiting the Rotokohu Wetlands need improved access to the southern Waitotara Forest.
5. Mokihinui Valley: One of the most beautiful forest-clad catchments on the West Coast. The PCE opposed commercial use of the river and stewardship land for a hydroelectric dam. This wild and scenic river deserves more and better protection.
6. St James Conservation Area: Nestled between the Lewis Pass National Reserve, Nelson Lakes National Park, Hanmer Forest Park and Molesworth Farm Park, the ecosystem of St James Conservation Area is a transition between West Coast rainforest and the dry grassland east of the main divide. The area is popular for tramping, climbing, white-water kayaking and rafting, fishing, horse riding, mountain-biking, four-wheel driving and off-road motorcycling.
7. The Remarkables: The Department of Conservation administers a large tract of stewardship land on the Remarkables and Hector Mountains with high visual, recreational and ecological values. Trampers, rock and ice climbers, alpine and cross country skiers and car tourists all enjoy this rugged range, which deserves formal protection.
8. Te Wahipounamu: Further protection of the South West New Zealand World Heritage Area, including the Lower Landsborough, Livingstone Range, Snowdon Forest and Mavora Lakes: Although the United Nations recognises the uniqueness of Te Wahipounamu for its magnificent mountain and river systems, much of it is classified as stewardship land. Areas including the Lower Landsborough region, the Livingstone Range, the Mavora Lakes and the Snowdon Forest deserve further protection.
Bounded by high mountains and guarded by challenging gorges, the remote Landsborough Valley runs parallel to the Southern Alps for some 60 kilometres. Mighty Mt Hooker with Mts Dechen and Strachan protect its western flank, while Mt Cook and Westland National Parks border it to the north and Mount Aspiring National Park to the south. The Livingstone Range provides exhilarating tramping, from beech forest to tussock ridge lines with magnificent mountain vistas. Snowdon Forest and Mavora Lakes offer easy tramping, fishing and hunting. All these areas should be better protected.
What you can do today…
Ask your local MP: Use FMC’s Forgotten Lands Email Template and gain commitment from your local Member of Parliament to protect our Forgotten Lands, or download the Forgotten Lands Campaign Brochure and post it to your local Member of Parliament.
Contribute: Donate to FMC’s Forgotten Lands Campaign
Display a poster: Put up a Forgotten Lands Poster at your work/school/university – email us and we will send one out or download one of our pdfs and print one yourself.
Photos kindly supplied by Shaun Barnett/Black Robin Photography, Danilo Hegg/Southern Alps Photography, Geoff Spearpoint and Rob Mitchell.
Download maps below:
Please check out the following links (to the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment’s website) for more information:
Click on the image below for a guide to finding your favourite stewardship area: