The future of Te Oneroa-a-Tōhē/Ninety Mile Beach
16 Dec 2019, 9:38 AM
Media release on behalf of Te Oneroa-a-Tōhē / Ninety Mile Beach Board
The care and safety of all users and visitors to the beach, acknowledging tangata whenua and protecting the environment are some of the public concerns that will eventually help shape a formal management plan for Te Oneroa-a-Tōhē/Ninety Mile Beach.
Established through Treaty of Waitangi settlement legislation, the eight-member Te Oneroa-a-Tōhē Board has an even split of iwi and local government members and has been tasked with developing a management plan for the iconic beach.
Te Oneroa-a-Tōhē/Ninety Mile Beach has massive cultural, historical and spiritual significance – not just to the five local iwi who make up Te Hiku o Te Ika – but to the wider community (Māori and non-Māori alike) New Zealand-wide.
Beach board chair Haami Piripi (Te Rarawa) says with that in mind, a great deal of work has been done over the past few months – and will continue over summer – gathering a whole range of diverse views on the beach, all aiming to ensure a future management plan has the right balance.
“Our initial public engagement took place over 10-weeks from mid-July to late September and involved four hui, three public drop-in events, development of a website and the circulation of a consultation document to all post boxes in Te Hiku.”
He says broadly speaking, the issues people thought were facing the beach and their associated feedback/concerns fell into half a dozen areas:
- People are safer; (improving vehicle management via speed limits, fewer access points, designated zones for 4WD/motorbikes and addressing drug and alcohol abuse)
- Acknowledging tangata whenua; (including educating visitors about local history/the beach’s cultural significance; and supporting significant Māori cultural practices, including restoring place names, installing pou, protecting wāhi tapu, rāhui, taiapure and whale strandings)
- Protecting the natural environment; (managing vehicles/people/animals in and around sensitive areas like shellfish beds, sand dunes, native plantings and bird nesting areas; tightening controls on gathering of kaimoana – especially spat collection – undertaking new planting, fencing and predator management)
- Beach cleanliness; (better rubbish management, supporting landcare groups and educating visitors to take rubbish away
- Visitor behaviour; (educating visitors about respectful and appropriate behaviours, through ambassadors, monitoring, signage and online)
- Improving facilities for beachgoers; (including parking, toilets, cellphone coverage and drinking water).
Mr Piripi says the board plans to gather more information over summer; to ‘ground truth’ what they had already been told with the Te Hiku community and beach users, as well as capture views from absentee landowners and others home for summer.
All this information will collectively feed into – and help shape – an eventual draft of the plan, which the board hopes to release for further public comment in about six months’ time.
Given the plan may cover such a broad range of activities - including cultural, resource management and economic considerations - Mr Piripi says the board’s collective view has consistently been that getting its balance right is not something that should be rushed.
“I’m already on record as saying the decisions made over the next few years will impact for generations to come and our tamariki, our mokopuna and their children won’t thank us if we get it wrong. It’s crucial to invest the time now to ensure we the best collective result we can.”
Mr Piripi says those keen to find out more about the board and what is planned for the beach can do so online via www.teoneroa-a-tohe.nz
For further information on this release; Haami Piripi (chairman Te Oneroa-a-Tōhē/Ninety Mile Beach Board) (027) 441 9426.
As of December 2019, Te Oneroa-a-Tōhē/Ninety Mile Beach Board ’s chair is Haami Piripi (Te Rarawa) and Mate Radich (Far North District Council member) is deputy chair. Remaining board members (in alphabetical order) are; John Carter (Far North District Council), Colin (Toss) Kitchen (Northland Regional Council), Rangitane Marsden (NgāiTakoto), Graeme Neho (Ngāti Kuri), Marty Robinson (Northland Regional Council) and Hone Witana (Te Aupouri).