Ongoing commitment signed for Whaka-Ora Healthy Harbour

The five partners of the Whaka-Ora Healthy Harbour plan have signed a new memorandum of understanding highlighting their ongoing commitment to improving the health of the Whakaraupō/Lyttelton Harbour catchment.

The plan is a long-term vision for the area and was launched last year. The previous memorandum of understanding signed in 2016 discussed the specifics of the plan, while this new document will supersede that and focus on implementation to deliver the actions.

The partners are:

  • Te Hapū o Ngāti Wheke
  • Lyttelton Port Company
  • Environment Canterbury
  • Christchurch City Council
  • Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu

The document was signed at the governance meeting this week.

Chair of the Whaka-Ora Healthy Harbour partnership Yvette Couch-Lewis of Te Hapū o Ngāti Wheke said the new memorandum was another positive step forward.

“This document is about making a commitment to the community to ensure the long-term sustainability of Whakaraupō/Lyttelton Harbour,” Couch-Lewis said.

“The harbour catchment area is important to so many people and we want the community to engage with us to help improve its ecological and cultural health.”


During the past year a collection of key projects have begun or received support from Whaka-Ora Healthy Harbour, including:

  • Ngāti Wheke-led ‘Head of the Harbour’ project, working with landowners to reduce sediment and contaminant inputs into streams and saltmarsh
  • Environment Canterbury-led soil mapping of the Whakaraupō/Lyttelton Harbour catchment
  • Ōtamahua/Quail Island Restoration Trust plant and animal pest control work
  • Diamond Harbour, Governors Bay and Lyttelton Schools restoration and environmental education projects

Progamme manager to lead the charge

Late last year Karen Banwell was appointed Whakaraupō programme manager.

A Community Advisory Group for the plan was established recently. The group will act as a mechanism for community engagement and provide advice on how the plan can support or initiate community-led projects.

Appointees from Ngāti Wheke (Rāpaki), the Banks Peninsula Zone Committee, the Lyttelton/Mt Herbert Community Board, and Banwell met last month with a focus to nominate representatives from the urban harbour communities.

Those discussions will start at the next meeting in early July with an aim to establish a group of approximately 10 people to meet quarterly.

Banwell said the Community Advisory Group was another important marker in implementing the Whaka-Ora Healthy Harbour plan.

“This is a great way for us to ensure we connect with our stakeholders and community as they will play a big role in helping us to deliver this plan,” Banwell said.

A new website for the plan and to document the projects associated with it was launched this week.

About the Whaka-Ora Healthy Harbour plan
  • The Whakaraupō/Lyttelton Harbour Catchment Management Plan, labelled Whaka-Ora Healthy Harbour, was launched in March 2018
  • The plan articulates a long-term vision of restoring the ecological and cultural health of the harbour as mahinga kai
  • Six specific ecological bands were identified as areas to target, they are: Rocky outcrops and indigenous forests, streams, hills and lowlands, wetlands and saltmarsh, taihua/foreshore, and harbour
  • To achieve this vision, the plan outlines 67 prioritised actions across four focus areas and two supporting areas (erosion and sedimentation; pollution; terrestrial indigenous biodiversity; marine indigenous biodiversity; research and monitoring; and coordination and alignment)
  • In 2016, the five Whaka-Ora Healthy Harbour partners began outlining how they would work together to write a catchment management plan for Whakaraupō/Lyttelton Harbour in line with a commitment by all partners recorded in the 2015 Lyttelton Port Recovery Plan
  • Whaka-Ora Healthy Harbour was recognised with an award for Best Practice in Consultation and Participation Strategies/Processes at the 2019 New Zealand Planning Institute Awards. The award noted the creative and relatable way the plan is written, making it more accessible to harbour communities

Find out more about the plan.