Source: Department of Conservation
Date: 01 July 2022
About 90km from Napier and within the Kaweka Forest Park, Mangatutu Hot Springs Campsite is one of the most popular facilities in Hawke’s Bay, enjoyed by locals and visitors alike. It is one of the few places left where day visitors and campers can enjoy thermal pools for free.
Hawke’s Bay District Manager, Tryphena Cracknell, says recent behaviour by some visitors has put the site at risk of being closed. This includes access to nearby huts that are also reached via the road, including Middle Hill Hut, Makino Hut, Te Puia Lodge, as well as Mangatainoka Hot Pools which are very popular destinations.
“DOC has a volunteer camp warden at the main campsite who carries out compliance checks, but there’s been a recent surge in anti-social activity making it difficult to cope,” says Tryphena. “There have been people hunting without permits, defacing signage, lighting fires, and damaging trees, and drunk and disorderly behaviour which impacts on both the local environment and visitor safety.”
The site’s popularity is driven by many different activities – from soaking in the hot pools, camping, fishing in the Mohaka River, hunting, and day walks.
The use of motorised vessels illegally accessing the Kaweka Forest Park and neighbouring private land and disturbing native wildlife, such as the rare and protected whio/blue duck is also a concern.
“This is putting pressure on our warden and other staff, to the point where we simply can’t manage it anymore,” says Tryphena. “It would be a real shame if we had to close such a great site because of the unruly conduct of a few people.
“We’re appealing to the public directly here; please don’t make us close the campsite. If you notice any bad behaviour, call 0800 DOC HOT or inform the police.”
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