State of the Waitākere Ranges heritage area 2018. Te āhua o te rohe o te ika whenua o Waitākere 2018
Author:Auckland Council Plans and Places
Source:Auckland Council | Waitākere Ranges Local Board
Extract from the Executive summary:
This is the second five-year report prepared under section 34 of the Waitākere Ranges Heritage Area Act 2008 (the Act). This report compiles data about the heritage features within the heritage area. It goes on to determine whether there have been changes in the state of those heritage features (both improvement and decline). The report also reflects on the council’s business which includes its requirements to meet the objectives of the Act.
Te Kawerau ā Maki and Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei are the mana whenua in the heritage area and both iwi played key roles in establishing the Act. The iwi continue to represent their mana whenua interests and exercise their kaitiakitanga in a wide range of forums. The heritage features are of particular significance for mana whenua, and collectively they are a taonga and maintain the heritage area’s mauri. The places of significance to mana whenua are integral to the wellbeing of the heritage features of the Act.
Auckland Council, the Waitākere Ranges Local Board, Auckland Transport and Watercare Services Limited hold governance and stewardship roles. They are landowners of extensive parts of the heritage area, and have significant responsibility on a daily basis for managing assets, providing operational activities and services and infrastructure development and maintenance throughout the heritage area.
Between 2013 and 2017 an additional 98 hectares has been added to ‘protected’ land, (either regional park land, local reserve, or as covenanted land) 87 hectares of this land is dominated by indigenous vegetation and 34 hectares contains ecologically significant habitat. The heritage area is valued and used for recreation and wilderness experiences, particularly within the Waitākere Ranges Regional Park. These values have been enhanced by new public infrastructure e.g. Piha campground / public toilets, sections of the Little Muddy Creek walkway linking Tangiwai Reserve and Grendon Road, and the walkway between Rimutaka Place and Huia Road.
Community groups and landowners undertake extensive pest and weed control programmes, are actively involved in projects to manage kauri dieback disease and continue to play a significant role in protecting and restoring the ecosystems of the heritage area.
The loss of the kauri forest ecosystem is the biggest threat presently facing the heritage area. All kauri forest within the heritage area is at very high risk of being infected by kauri dieback disease. However the proportion of threatened animal and plant species with stable or increasing population sizes is assessed as likely to have increased between 2013 to 2017. Monitoring has enabled the identification and understanding of the roosting areas used by the long-tailed bat populations living within the heritage area.
The planning provisions and resource consent processes implemented between 2013 and 2017 have maintained the rural character of the eastern foothills and the natural landscape and landform values of the heritage area by reducing subdivision and ensuring that development is undertaken in suitable locations in a suitable manner. The majority of changes to landform and landscapes that have occurred as a result of subdivision and development are in the coastal villages. Monitoring over the next five years will be important to determine whether development under the Auckland Unitary Plan provisions continues to be effective in protecting the landscape values of the heritage area, or whether the Auckland Unitary Plan provisions need to be reviewed.
There is evidence that there has been a significant increase in the level of recreational use of the heritage area between 2013 and 2017. There is growing concern that the level of use, unless appropriately managed, may be to the detriment of other heritage features, such as ecosystems, wilderness and historic heritage values.
Data on the use of the heritage area has been collected from a range of sources and is not always robust. More accurate and integrated information gathering is needed to assess infrastructure, funding and management requirements necessary to retain the heritage features. The challenges associated with managing kauri dieback disease has highlighted the need to better understand and manage the use of the heritage area. ...