Monday, August 31, 2009

Kahurangi - you really want to dig this up?

Ahhh Kahurangi National Park - how special?

"Created in 1996, Kahurangi is one of New Zealand's newest and the second largest national park. At 452,002 hectares it is also one of the largest. Translated its name has a number of meanings including ''treasured possession', an apt description of its wonderfully diverse natural and recreational values. In places it is an untracked wilderness, elsewhere a wonderful network of tracks lets you explore wild rivers, high plateaux and alpine herbfields, and coastal forests."

"The management plan (June 2001) recognises the mana and tangata whenua status of Ngai Tahu, Ngati Apa, Ngati Rarua, Ngati Tama and Te Atiawa over their ancestral lands and waters within the park and its significance to them. The recognition of mana and tangata whenua status is present through all sections and policies of this management plan.

This plan is a working tool for the future of the park only, but acknowledges the Crown's relationship with and obligations to Ngai Tahu, Ngati Apa, Ngati Rarua, Ngati Tama and Te Atiawa under section 4 of the Conservation Act 1987 which requires the Department to give effect to the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi. This plan also acknowledges the Department's obligations under the Ngai Tahu Claims Settlement Act 1998."

This park contains nearly half of all native vascular plant species. it also supports 12% of our threatened plants. It is home to 60% of all native land bird species, and is a stronghold for the threatened Great Spotted kiwi, Blue Duck, and both long and shorttailed native bats. 12 species of native fish in the freshwater bodies within the park including 4 threatened species and is also the home of the giant land snails.

"Ms Campbell, Forest and Bird Nelson-Tasman chairwoman, said Kahurangi National Park was likely to come under pressure for mining because of minerals there. A Department of Conservation northwest South Island national park investigation in 1993 identified Kahurangi as one of the richest areas in New Zealand for mineral resources, she said.

Crown Minerals, which manages the Government's oil, gas, minerals and coal resources, said the type of minerals that could be found in the Nelson region, for example in Kahurangi National Park, included antimony, chromium, copper, gold, lead-zinc, molybdenum, nickel, platinum, rare earths, tin and titanium."

I think Kahurangi is particularily vunerable because of it's remoteness to the rest of the country and the attitudes being displayed. How bad is it? Well grosser is the minister of conservation and he has said, "If you can extract wealth from that [conservation land], that's what we should do."

The person charged with protecting our National parks and conservation estate believes we should dig them up for money.

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