A park service assessment to guide redevelopment of the Matakawau Recreation and Planting Reserve is being prepared.
Franklin Local Board wants the document ready for when the pine plantation in the area is milled.
Board chair Andy Baker says it is important to have a plan in place for when the pines have gone. The board has asked that the almost 25-hectare area feature a restored indigenous ecosystem that provides for walking and cycling in a natural setting.
“That would allow locals and visitors to not only enjoy our native flora and fauna but also the trails created as part of the restoration,” he says.
“The reserve’s cultural significance will be important too, so we have asked that Ngāti Te Ata is engaged around design and development.”
The board wants connections to and within the reserve to have an accessibility focus, and support amenities provided.
“Any development programme that evolves will look to ensure the design reflects the cultural, ecological, and cultivated landscape of the area and while there is obviously a long way to go, the next step is for the board to provide funding in its work programme to develop a concept plan.”
The reserve sits between the rural settlements of Matakawau and Matakawau Point, and consists of three distinct lots, 10.5 hectares of regenerating native vegetation, including some kauri, the pine plantation, and about four hectares of pasture.
It is undeveloped but does provide informal recreational options, such as walking and exploring, including on informal tracks. A walk loop track was developed by volunteers some years ago but kauri dieback and the need to protect kauri in the reserve forced its closure.
The board previously funded a biodiversity management plan to understand more about the area and the reserve's importance to it which has resulted in the recommendation to restore the overall indigenous ecosystem.