Caring for the environment  |  20 Jun 2019

Five local organisations have confirmed their commitment to a plan designed to help improve the ecological health of Whakaraupō/Lyttelton Harbour.

The Whaka-Ora Healthy Harbour Plan  is a long-term vision for the area which was launched last year.

It was put together by Te Hapū o Ngāti Wheke, Lyttelton Port Company, Environment Canterbury, Christchurch City Council, and Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu in consultation with harbour communities.

These five partners have this week signed a new memorandum of understanding that is focused on the implementation stage of the plan.

Whakaraupō Partnership Chair Yvette Couch-Lewis of Te Hapū o Ngāti Wheke says the new memorandum is another positive step forward. 

“This document is about making a commitment to the community to ensure the long-term sustainability of Whakaraupō/Lyttelton Harbour.

“The harbour catchment area is important to so many people and we want the community to engage with us to help improve its ecological and cultural health.”

During the past 12 months a collection of key projects have begun or received support from Whaka-Ora Healthy Harbour, including:

  • Ngāti Wheke-led 'Head of the Harbour' project, working with landowners to reduce sediment and contaminant inputs into streams and saltmarsh
  • Environment Canterbury-led soil mapping of the Whakaraupō/Lyttelton Harbour catchment
  • Ōtamahua/Quail Island Restoration Trust plant and animal pest control work
  • Diamond Harbour, Governors Bay and Lyttelton Schools restoration and environmental education projects

Late last year Dr Karen Banwell was appointed Whakaraupō programme manager.

A Community Advisory Group for the plan was established recently to promote community engagement and provide advice on how the plan can support or initiate community-led projects.

Appointees from Ngāti Wheke (Rāpaki), the Banks Peninsula Zone Committee, the Lyttelton/Mt Herbert Community Board met with Dr Banwell last month with a focus to nominate representatives from the urban harbour communities.

Those discussions will start at the next meeting in early July with the goal to establish a group of about 10 people to meet quarterly.

Dr Banwell said the Community Advisory Group was another important marker in implementing the Whaka-Ora Healthy Harbour plan. “This is a great way for us to ensure we connect with our stakeholders and community as they will play a big role in helping us to deliver this plan,” 

About the Whaka-Ora Healthy Harbour plan:

 • The plan was launched in March 2018. Its goal is to restore the ecological and cultural health of the harbour as mahinga kai. Six specific ecological bands were identified as areas to target and the plan outlines 67 prioritised actions across four focus areas and two supporting areas.

• In 2016, the five Whaka-Ora Healthy Harbour partners began outlining how they would work together to write a catchment management plan for Whakaraupō/Lyttelton Harbour.