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Hokianga's Mita Harris chairs Northland Conservation Board into new era

Date:  24 November 2011

Northland Conservation Board’s new Chair Mita Harris is looking for strong public input into the region’s Conservation Management Strategy (CMS).

The Strategy is currently under review and will be released for public comment early in 2012 when people in Northland will be asked how they want to see the region’s places, habitats, biodiversity, ecosystems, historic sites, etc. managed for the next decade and further into the future.

Mr Harris, born and raised in Hokianga, was elected Chairperson at the Board’s November meeting in Kerikeri. He had joined the Board at its previous meeting. Ian McGill, of Kerikeri, was elected Deputy Chair.

Mr Harris said, “The Conservation Management Strategy is the top priority for the Board. The Board will work alongside the public in keeping close to the CMS process.

Another priority will be working with iwi and hapu to further the establishment of a Kauri National Park in Northland, at Waipoua. Both of these significant priorities will need serious public input from next year onwards,’’ Mr Harris said.

A review, currently underway, of the Department of Conservation’s (DOC) resources, means there will be more community involvement in conservation. DOC Northland Conservator Chris Jenkins is looking to the Board to actively engage the community on the key priorities.

Mr Harris said “Working smarter nationally is a very strong flavour in 2012 for all sectors involved in natural and historic heritage, and Northland will lead the way in many of these areas.’’

Mr Harris has worked in the heritage sector for 15 years, including DOC in the past, and is a “supporter of access to the greatest living spaces in Northland for Northlanders and our visitors’’. He currently works for the New Zealand Historic Places Trust.

Ian McGill is in his fourth year on the Board and has a wide background in local government and business management. He is a retired businessperson with strong family links to the Waitangi National Trust.

Mr McGill said he is looking forward to an increasingly pro-active stance from the Board on its main function of advising on the preparation and monitoring of the Conservation Management Strategy.

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