New Managers - & Name - for Point Dorset

21 October 2011

Wellington City Council's Strategy and Policy Committee has supported a proposal to develop and restore an historical and culturally significant piece of land that is part of Wellington's network of recreational reserves and coastal open space.

The committee yesterday voted unanimously to adopt a new management plan for the Point Dorset Reserve, overlooking the harbour entrance between Seatoun and Breaker Bay.

It will be the first public reserve in the Capital to be jointly managed by the City Council and mana whenua - Taranaki Whānui ki Te Upoko o Te Ika.

The area will also become known as Oruaiti Reserve after the Port Nicholson Block Settlement Trust, which owns the land, requested the name change.

The Council's Natural Environment Portfolio Leader, Councillor Helene Ritchie, says the reserve is a very special area that has important historical, ecological, cultural and coastal features.

The reserve's natural habitat, which is a breeding ground for penguins, will be preserved and restored where necessary and walking tracks upgraded.

"It also provides opportunities through managing and caring for this open space, for the protection of wildlife, such as little blue penguins, and appropriate tree planting and biodiversity protection and enhancement," says Cr Ritchie.

"The defence heritage of the area will be protected, and explained in interpretation signs along with the Taranaki Whānui heritage and stories that go with this prominent pa site, and past defence installations.

"The new name will add to the stories about the site and I have every confidence that this is an excellent outcome for Wellington, which fits nicely with our goal to be a smart green Capital.

"We are all the kaitiaki [guardians] of our coastal and natural environment."

Port Nicholson Block Settlement Trust Chairman Professor Sir Ngatata Love says the first joint management arrangement is a true demonstration of the partnership between Taranaki Whānui and Council.

Sir Ngatata says the recognition of Taranaki Whānui and the historical and cultural connection with this area is well reflected in the name change to Oruaiti Reserve.

"As the landowner of the reserve the Trust is delighted with the approach of the Council and grateful for the Charles Plimmer Bequest funding that was granted for the development of this joint management plan. We look forward to enhancing the area for the benefit of all citizens and visitors."