Significant milestone for Kahurangi National Park with Ngāti Waewae pou whenua unveiled

Today the Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage has joined Ngāti Waewae to unveil the pou whenua for the Mokihinui addition to the Kahurangi National Park. This pou whenua acknowledges the role of Ngāti Waewae as mana whenua for this place and their role as kaitiaki. 

“The unveiling of the pou whenua is a significant milestone to mark the largest ever addition to a national park” says Eugenie Sage.

The pou whenua, which has been created by Ngāti Waewae carvers, is located on the new boundary of Kahurangi National Park near Seddonville.

“The unveiling ceremony acknowledges the 64,400 hectares of conservation land covering the Mokihinui River catchment which became part of Kahurangi National Park on the 11th April 2019.

“The Mokihinui River catchment is highly significant to Ngāi Tahu and Ngāti Waewae. It contains a combination of geology, landforms, riverine habitat, vegetation, animal and plant life not found elsewhere.

“National park status ensures stronger protection of the Mokihinui area’s significant cultural, ecological, historic and recreational values.

“I acknowledge Ngāti Waewae for operating in good faith throughout the process which has required compromise on their part.

“In the forthcoming review of the Kahurangi National Park Plan, the Department of Conservation will work closely with Ngāti Waewae I’m addressing their cultural interests and customary rights within the park.

“A hydro-electric dam was proposed for the Mokihinui River in 2007. The hydro scheme attracted considerable public interest and strong opposition because of its environmental impacts.  It would have flooded the Mokihinui Gorge and inundated beech-podocarp forests and significant habitats of threatened plants and wildlife such as whio/blue duck, kaka, bats and giant land snails.

“The decision in 2012 not to proceed with the hydro scheme was followed by the decision to give national park status to the Mokihinui catchment and adding these lands to Kahurangi National Park.

The Mokihinui catchment adjoins the south-west corner of Kahurangi National Park and it is the largest addition of land to an existing national park in New Zealand’s history.

The 64,400-hectare area that has been added to Kahurangi is equivalent in size to Abel Tasman and Paparoa National Parks combined and is twice the size of Egmont National Park.

Kahurangi is our second largest park behind Fiordland National Park which covers more than 1,230,000 hectares.  With the addition of the Mokihinui land, Kahurangi has increased in size by 14% to 517,335 hectares.