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Source: Auckland Council

“Auckland’s regional parks aren’t that special,” said no one, ever.

“How lucky are we? How incredible is this park!” says everyone, all the time.

Auckland’s 28 regional parks encompassing 41,000 hectares are shining treasures, jewels of the Tāmaki Makaurau parks and open space network. They are visited by six million people a year and have an enviable visitor satisfaction rate of 95 per cent. Our regional parks network includes five predator-free sanctuaries for endangered wildlife and volunteers worked more than 90,000 hours in the last year, playing a vital role in conservation.

And now’s the time to tell Auckland Council more about what you want from your regional parks.

Aucklanders can have their say on the future management of regional parks with consultation opening today. Submissions will contribute to an update of the council’s current Regional Parks Management Plan.

Councillor Alf Filipaina, chair of the council’s Parks, Arts, Community and Events Committee, strongly encourages people to go to AK Have Your Say to give suggestions and ideas.

“We love our regional parks!” says Councillor Filipaina.

“In fact, nearly 70 per cent of Aucklanders visited a regional park in Tāmaki Makaurau last year. Can you believe that more than 30,000 people visited Ambury Farm Day at the Ambury Regional Park? That is astonishing, and really shows how important these spaces are to us.”

“Our network of regional parks protects important examples of Auckland’s natural ecosystems and are also treasured for their heritage values. This consultation is an opportunity for people to express what they love about their regional parks, and what they want to see protected, maintained or improved.”

Councillor Filipaina says the council is committed to working with mana whenua during the review, and to engaging with mataawaka Māori. He also hopes that this first round of consultation will result in people from all around the region providing input on matters that impact how the council manages the regional parks network in the future.

“We want to hear what Aucklanders value about regional parks, and what we should be protecting. We want to better understand the experiences that are important to you and hear about how people of all ages, abilities and ethnicities use our regional parks.”

Councillor Christine Fletcher, who holds the council’s Parks Portfolio, says she can’t speak highly enough about Auckland’s regional parks.

“I really believe all our regional parks are incredibly special places,” says Councillor Fletcher with pride.

“But I think my personal favourite might be Glenfern Sanctuary on Aotea, Great Barrier Island. When I was a child, we would go to Great Barrier Island by boat and it was my job to go to Fitzroy House and buy the milk. Later, I became friends with the wonderful Tony Bouzaid, founder of the Glenfern Sanctuary.”

“This place is so special for me, not just for the wonderful childhood memories I have, but also for the conservation work that I was involved with as an adult. This regional park continues to capture my imagination and I am so grateful that people visiting Aotea, Great Barrier Island can freely visit the sanctuary and can even book to stay at the historic Fitzroy House, one of the regional park accommodation options that the council provides.”

“It’s been 10 years since the last management plan was developed. It’s now time to hear from the people who use and love our regional parks, we want you to tell us how we should manage these magnificent spaces moving forward. Read the discussion paper to find out more – it will get you thinking!”

Councillor Fletcher says that spending time in our regional parks and enjoying nature and the environment is one of things that makes Tāmaki Makaurau so exceptional and unique.

“It’s no wonder that we are so proud of them. Getting out and about and experiencing all that our magnificent regional parks have to offer is a big part of our life as Aucklanders”

“Please do take the time to tell us what you love about your regional parks. Tell us what we are going right, what we need to reconsider and what we need to think about moving forward.”

Consultation is open from 1 September to 12 October 2020. Have your say on the future of our regional parks by visiting the council’s website at AK Have Your Say.

Which of our regional parks are you familiar with?