A joint statement from Matakana Islanders and the Western Bay of Plenty District Council says the parties are working together to protect Panepane Point, after islanders barricaded the wharf last week.
The barricade prevented local tourism operator Kewpie Cruises from landing passengers at Panepane to explore the island side of the Tauranga harbour entrance.
The statement says council and Matakana Island Tangata Whenua are working together on a joint management plan which will help protect Panepane Point.
It follows a meeting on Wednesday, attended by Western Bay of Plenty Mayor Garry Webber, council staff and about 40 island residents, to discuss the issues that led to the barricade being placed on the wharf and discovered by Kewpie Cruises operator Brandon Stone on January 9.
The joint statement from Western Bay of Plenty District Council Deputy CEO Gary Allis and Matakana Island Tangata Whenua spokesperson Ngaraima Taingahue says it was a positive hui and they have agreed to develop a pathway going forward.
The islanders concerns are a result of the area’s growing popularity and include:
• Putting measures in place to protect the environment
• Provision of facilities such as toilets and rubbish bins
• Signs to stop visitors entering the working forest
• Educating visitors about the danger of lighting fires on the island
• Educating visitors about the history of the island.
The parties agreed to work to establish a joint management plan for Panepane Point which will include actions like:
• Appointing a seasonal ranger who can ensure visitors respect the area
• Providing facilities such as toilets and rubbish bins
• Putting controls in place to stop people entering the forest
• Erecting signage regarding the danger of fires
• The management of trees near the coast.
Finer details of the joint management plan will be discussed during a follow up hui in February. An update will be provided after the hui.