A driftwood and barbed wire barricade preventing people from visiting Matakana Island this week has now been removed.
The barricade was erected on Panepane wharf last week by residents of the island in Tauranga Harbour.
The blockade prompted talks between Western Bay of Plenty District Council and the tangata whenua of Matakana Island, who have today announced they are working on a joint management plan to protect the island. This included toilets and a ranger for the island.
Yesterday, Mayor Garry Webber, council staff and about 40 island residents met to discuss issues raised by the barricade.
Webber and kaumatua said in a joint statement this afternoon the meeting was a positive hui and the barricade had now been removed. The wharf is again open for public access.
The statement said island tangata whenua were looking for steps to be put in place that helped protect Panepane Point and made sure Matakana Island remained a treasure in the harbour.
Their concerns were on the back of the area growing in popularity and included:
• 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 statement also said that during the meeting, both parties agreed to work positively together to establish a joint management plan for Panepane Point.
The plan will include actions such as:
• 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.