Step up, be heard and get your hands dirty.

That's the call from Kerikeri designer Jo Lumkong, a lead player in discussions about future use of Kerikeri Domain.

The Far North District Council is seeking feedback on its Draft Reserve Management Plan for the Domain.

Lumkong said the council had made a good attempt at including public wishes, but the draft plan was inflexible, limited and missed the mark by failing to allow for future community engagement.

Jo Lumkong
Jo Lumkong

She called on Kerikeri residents to take an interest in the future of the Domain, as the heart of their town, and have a say before submissions close this Friday.

"I believe that the physical environment has a direct impact on human wellbeing, culture and opens the door to change."

Lumkong, a member of local lobby group Vision Kerikeri, has spent hundreds of voluntary hours in the past year on the Kerikeri Domain and other projects such as Te Hononga in Kawakawa and the Waitangi Mountain Bike Park hub.

The draft Domain plan was written by council staff with support from a consultant. It was "very siloed" and directive in the way it designated how spaces should be used, which would limit future input from the community. It also failed to address governance of the Domain, Lumkong said.

The Kerikeri Domain Trust, formerly the governance body, was disestablished in 2012 though there was no record as to who requested it.

Lumkong called for a nomination process to form a new governance body enabling a community visioning process and local decision-making.

"We'd like to see the council mandate the formation of a community charitable trust, with council representation as the governing body. We already have a wealth of talented, good-hearted citizens stepping up to offer support, knowhow and time."

A public survey in 2017 survey received 132 responses with most people saying relaxation and exercise were the most common uses of the 3ha space.

Other key issues include:

* The pavilion, which has been boarded up and its users left in limbo since an arson attack in 2016.
* How to connect the Domain with other features such as the Turner Centre, Kerikeri Basin, waterfalls, rivers and walking tracks.
* Retention of open green space.

The council is not seeking feedback on dogs as part of its consultation exercise, though many people use the Domain for dog walking. Instead the council says it will consider the issue when it next reviews its Dog Management Policy and Bylaw.

Go to to see the plan and make a submission. You can check out Vision Kerikeri's submission

The Kerikeri Domain Reserve Management Plan is due to be adopted in April.