The Domain Board has asked Horowhenua District Council - which acts as agent for the Domain Board in maintenance and security matters - to remove any locks put on the gates to Muaūpoko Park and Lake Horowhenua, DoC said.

"The Domain Board manages public access to the reserve and has not authorised Phil Taueki to lock the access gate at Muaūpoko Park.

"He has locked the same gate in the past and the Domain Board have previously reminded Mr Taueki that he is not authorised to lock the gates and have had the padlocks removed," said Reg Kemper, DOC Lower North Island Director of Operations.

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Kemper said DoC's only role in relation to Lake Horowhenua and Muaūpoko Park is as chair of the Lake Domain Board. As the domain is not conservation land, DoC itself will take no action against Mr Taueki.

DoC holds this role of chair of the Domain Board under the Reserves and Other Lands Disposal Act 1956 (ROLD Act).

"The Horowhenua Lake Domain is not public conservation land. It is a mixture of Crown Land (reserve) and land owned by beneficial Maori owners (as described in the Act)."

Locked gates at Muaupoko Park. The Domain Board has asked the council to open the gates.
Locked gates at Muaupoko Park. The Domain Board has asked the council to open the gates.

The Statutory context for the Domain Board is the Reserves and Other Lands Disposal Act 1956, which can be viewed at: http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1956/0053/latest/DLM304382.html

The particular make-up of the Domain Board is prescribed in s18(8) of the ROLD Act:

The Minister of Conservation appoints seven of the Domain Board members subject to the prescriptions in the Act:

(8) Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in the Reserves and Domains Act 1953, the Board shall consist of—

(a) 4 persons appointed by the Minister on the recommendation of the Muaupoko Maori Tribe:

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(b) 1 person appointed by the Minister on the recommendation of the Horowhenua County Council:

(c) 2 persons appointed by the Minister on the recommendation of the Levin Borough Council:

(d) the Director-General of Conservation, ex officio, who shall be Chairman.

The local body representatives at (b) and (c) are now recommended by the Horowhenua District Council, following the amalgamation of those councils.