15 May 2019

The Waiheke community responded to the tragedy in Christchurch on 15 March with fundraising efforts, flowers, poetry and messages of love and sympathy, joining the rest of Aotearoa New Zealand and others around the world in an outpouring of grief and outrage. Meanwhile the worldwide student strike for action on climate change, which took place in New Zealand at almost the same time as the massacre, was largely ignored by the mainstream media. Not, however, by the Gulf News, which celebrated the turnout by Waiheke students, as well as Lindsay Jeff’s marathon bike ride from Auckland to Wellington in support of New Zealand’s Zero Carbon Bill.

In early April the Local Board and several Waiheke residents presented submissions to planning commissioners opposing proposed changes to the Downtown Ferry Basin , one of which is to enable even larger cruise ships to dock in Central Auckland. (At the end of April, Auckland had hosted 39 cruise ships, a 20% increase on the previous season.) The wharf extension has since been approved despite strong opposition.

On a more positive note, the Waiheke Transport Forum has appointed Don McKenzie as their new accessibility representative. Hopefully the Waiheke Special Needs Group’s call for access mats to popular beaches will be similarly addressed.

Sustainable tourism to the fore: DOC is nearing a decision to develop Stony Batter as a cultural tourism, star-gazing and education destination.

Good news also that the adventure company EcoZip, in partnership with the Waiheke Resources Trust, is planning to double the number of native trees they plant each year.

The increasing numbers of young South Americans working in our vineyards, restaurants and cafés is a boon to our tourist industry. Recent arrival Manuela Irianni’s response to the island and its community is a heart-warming story.

Less palatable to locals is the news that the Local Board’s bid to ban freedom camping anywhere on the island’s public land is taking longer to achieve than first thought. And the High Court has ruled out the Kennedy Point marina appeal option.

Looking at the big picture, planning for Waiheke’s next 30 years is underway. But with some gaps that need to be addressed, public consultation on a draft Waiheke Area Plan will not take place until mid-year. The local board members are facing challenging topics in their weekly area plan briefings and discussions. Nothing is off the table: housing scale and densification, water quality, visitor numbers, maximum carrying capacity for population numbers and even wastewater reticulation have made it into the debate. Cath Handley, Waiheke Local Board Chair, says “It’s confronting sometimes but the board has to make sense of it all in a draft plan before taking that out for the community’s response. We are guided by Essentially Waiheke and other strategic plans including sustainable tourism and community."

Finally, a round of applause to the fundraising efforts of Barry Fenton and Dan Harrop, in a bid to keep Chris Bailey’s Te Werowero sculpture permanently at Matiatia. The artwork both welcomes and challenges visitors to respect the island’s culture, whāhi tapu and fragile environment, says Chris. A truly welcome addition to Waiheke’s gateway!

Sustainable Community and Tourism for Waiheke Island

Send us your ideas

Aug 5, 2018

Community Consultation Report

Earlier this year, Project Forever Waiheke consulted with the Waiheke community, through a workshop and a community survey, to get your views on tourism and development on the island. Based on that consultation, we have produced two documents for Waiheke Islanders and other interested people.

The Community Consultation Report tells you what Waihekeans thought about both tourism impacts and current development on the island. It summarises people’s concerns and includes their ideas on how to work towards sustainable community and tourism on Waiheke.

Draft Sustainable Community and Tourism Strategy

Based on the Community Consultation Report, and in consultation with the Waiheke Local Board and Ngāti Paoa, we have developed a Draft Waiheke Island Sustainable Community and Tourism Strategy – for now, in a summary one-pager. Following community input, it will be developed into a comprehensive strategy, including tangible goals and actions.

When it is finalised, this strategy will meet one of the key goals of the Waiheke Island Local Board Plan 2018-2021. Its purpose will be to provide a ‘directional framework’ for the Local Board in relation to tourism and community development, and to inform decision-making by the Local Board, Council, local organisations and interest groups, and all Waihekeans. It is also intended to underpin future policy and strategy development by Auckland Council and potentially central government.

Please send us your comments

You can send comments via this online form.

If you would like to make a group response as part of an organisation or interest group, members of the Project’s Local Working Group are available to attend a meeting with your group for 30 minutes to answer questions. Please contact Pam Oliver to arrange that.

We will also be running two community workshops in September for people to provide input into the Draft Strategy Summary. Dates for these workshops will be announced on this website and in the Gulf News. peak