Launch of Whaka-Ora Healthy Harbour

An aspirational plan to restore the cultural and ecological health of Whakaraupō/Lyttelton Harbour has been launched.

Whaka-Ora Healthy Harbour is the result of a commitment made by Environment Canterbury, Te Hapū o Ngāti Wheke, Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, Christchurch City Council, and the Lyttelton Port Company under the Lyttelton Port Recovery Plan 2015 to create a catchment management plan which would restore Whakaraupō/Lyttelton Harbour to mahinga kai.

The five parties signed a memorandum of understanding in August 2016 and work on the plan began soon after with community consultation meetings to determine what the harbour communities wanted included in the plan.

The final plan sets out an aspirational vision for the harbour and actions required to achieve that vision based on the principles of change-making, collaboration and providing a foundation that can be used for future generations.

Lyttelton Port Company chief executive Peter Davie said the launch of Whaka-Ora Healthy Harbour is an exciting milestone in the plan’s long-term vision coming to fruition.

“We are proud to be working together with our partners and the community to ensure the health of the harbour for the future as we meet the requirements of both commercial port users and the recreational users of the harbour.

“This coordinated approach will help support community aspirations so the harbour is maintained and protected for future generations to enjoy.”

Councillor Andrew Turner says Whaka-Ora Healthy Harbour is an excellent example of partnership in action.

“It is clear the partners and the community share the same focus and direction, and that’s thanks to the leadership and inclusive approach of Te Hapū o Ngāti Wheke.

“The end result is a plan that will restore the ecological and cultural health of Lyttelton Harbour/Whakaraupō, and this is not just visionary – it provides practical actions that everyone can be involved in.”

Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu Te Ao Tūroa general manager Kara Edwards said Whakaraupō was an important mahinga kai site for Rāpaki whānau and it was great to see they are at the heart of this plan

“This plan rightfully places significant emphasis on cultural values and Te Rūnanga are heartened by the collaborative process undertaken to complete the plan,” she said.

Environment Canterbury councillor Elizabeth Cunningham said the launch of the plan was a fantastic outcome for the harbour communities who had been working and advocating for a cleaner Whakaraupō/Lyttelton Harbour for some time.

“This will not be a plan that sits on a shelf gathering dust. Now our job is to ensure something happens and that this vision becomes a reality,” she said.

At today’s launch, a korowai made of the feathers representing the kaitiaki (guardian) for each band in the plan will be wrapped around the document signifying its importance and the commitment made by the partners and community to fulfil the vision.

The plan, with the korowai, will move around the five partner organisations as a reminder of the commitment they have made.

“The korowai is a cloak of protection that we wrap around something that we consider to be a taonga/treasure something that needs the highest protection.

“When we have a healthy harbour that is abundant with mahinga kai we can sustainably harvest to provide kai for the table, make mokihi (raupo) create cloaks for whanau, then the korowai is no longer need it has done its job,” chair of the Whaka-Ora Healthy Harbour governance group Yvette Couch-Lewis said.