Whakaraupō/Lyttelton Harbour plan takes out national award

An aspirational plan to restore the cultural and ecological health of Whakaraupō/Lyttelton Harbour has taken out a national planning award.

The Whaka-Ora Healthy Harbour Plan was recognised at the New Zealand Planning Institute Awards last Friday, winning an award for Best Practice Consultation and Participation Strategies and Processes. Whaka-Ora Healthy Harbour (Whakaraupō/Lyttelton Harbour catchment management plan) was jointly written by Te Hapū o Ngāti Wheke, Lyttelton Port Company, Environment Canterbury, Christchurch City Council, and Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu.

It seeks to restore the cultural and ecological health of Whakaraupō/Lyttelton Harbour as mahinga kai.

Throughout the development of the plan, the community was front of mind for the partners. Several community meetings around the Lyttelton Harbour communities were held prior to writing the plan to gauge what was important to them in the harbour, what they thought the key issues were and how those could be addressed.

That feedback was then used by the partner working group, which included representatives of the partners, community board and water zone committee, to develop the plan. The community also had the opportunity to feed back on the draft plan through a series of meetings. At the awards ceremony held in Napier, Whaka-Ora Healthy Harbour was recognised for the creative way in which it was written.

“It replaces typical plan format and jargon with plain language and imagery to capture the imagination of harbour communities and making it a more relatable and accessible planning document for the communities it speaks to,” the citation read.

Chair of the Whakaraupō partnership Yvette Couch-Lewis of Te Hapū o Ngāti Wheke said there was a real sense of pride for what the partnership and community had achieved. “However, we are not to lose sight of the importance of getting the implementation and the community group working.” Environment Canterbury councillor Elizabeth Cunningham echoed those sentiments. “This will not be a plan that sits on a shelf gathering dust. Now our job is to ensure that this vision becomes a reality,” she said. Deputy Mayor Andrew Turner said the award recognised that “great things can happen when people work together to achieve a common goal”.

“I’m very pleased that our partnership has been honoured as a strong and productive example of true partnership in action,” he said. Lyttelton Port Company chief executive Peter Davie said he was thrilled with the award. The plan aimed to restore the ecological and cultural health of Lyttelton Harbour and recognised the only way to do that effectively is working together in partnership, he said.

“The partnership has seen five organisations collaborate for a vitally important common goal – restoring the health of our Harbour. “This award recognised the effort of the teams behind the partnership to plan and implement an ambitious but necessary objective, and it is fantastic to see the fruits of this work recognised in initiatives across the community.”

To find out more about Whaka-Ora Healthy Harbour see www.healthyharbour.org.nz