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Browns Island. A Priceless New Regional Park - Friends of Regional Parks welcomes announcement of new Regional Park

posted Jul 19, 2017, 7:16 PM by Mels Barton   [ updated Jul 19, 2017, 7:17 PM ]

Press Release: for immediate release - Tuesday 18 July 2017

Auckland’s Friends of Regional Parks (FOR Parks), welcomes news that Browns Island Motukorea, has become Auckland Council’s newest Regional Park and its first island park.

President Bronwen Turner says: “Browns Island Regional Park adds to the region’s chain of priceless  Regional Parks along the coast and in the Hauraki Gulf.

“We applaud the energy and persistence of Auckland Council to guarantee public access and enjoyment of this remarkable asset into the future.”

The new Regional Park opens up a myriad of recreational opportunities for nature and heritage  lovers, the boating fraternity, day walkers and campers. The new park also offers opportunities for volunteers to work with Council to restore the ecology of this centrally located island, ravaged by a recent scrub and grass fire.

Browns Island Regional Park is a significant step by Auckland Council in expanding the provision of Regional Parks to accommodate the city’s rapid population growth.

Research affirms this need, showing that 75% of Aucklanders’ recreation is informal such as biking, walking and enjoying beaches, with only 25% involved in organised sport.  FOR Parks believes that Council must realign its park planning and spending to accommodate recreation preferences of the majority of Aucklanders, including greater spending on Regional Parks.

In the face of intensive housing development, FOR Parks calls for urgent action by Auckland Council to fund acquisition and development of new Regional Parks both to the north and south of Auckland. Among the opportunities are Crater Hill, the Okura Estuary and properties along the route of the Te Araroa walking trail. Principles to guide Auckland’s park development and a 50 year strategy were presented to Council by FOR Parks in 2016.

Background:

Brown’s Island Motukorea was sold by Ngati Tamatera in 1840 to settlers, John Logan Campbell and  William Brown. Since then the island has had a succession of owners, culminating in the purchase in 1955 by former mayor and brewing magnate Sir Ernest Davis. Davis gifted the island to the Mayor, Councillors and people of Auckland in 1955.

Since 1955, the island has been managed for the city variously by the Hauraki Gulf Maritime Park Board and the Department of Conservation, but from 2 February 2018, Auckland Council will resume management. A group of volunteers is being formed to assist in ecological restoration of the island.

The Friends of Regional Parks (FOR Parks) advocates for the provision of Regional Parks in the Auckland Region with support from groups including Forest and Bird and Federated Mountain Clubs.


FRIENDS OF REGIONAL PARKS OPPOSES POINT ENGLAND BILL

posted Jun 13, 2017, 3:13 AM by Mels Barton

Press release: for immediate release Tuesday 13 June 2017

 

FRIENDS OF REGIONAL PARKS OPPOSES POINT ENGLAND BILL

 

On Monday 12 June the Friends of Regional Parks Society Inc held its Annual General Meeting.

Our organisation represents over 30,000 New Zealanders and our meeting unanimously supported the following resolution regarding the proposed Point England Bill:

 

“That the Friends of Regional Parks Society opposes in the strongest possible terms any proposal to use public open space for development or other purposes than that for which it was set aside, ie for the recreation of Aucklanders and the conservation of the environment. The growth of Auckland puts increasing pressure onto our already strained parks infrastructure and we need to be developing more new parks to meet their needs, not taking away those we already have. Our organisation represents over 30,000 New Zealanders and the Regional Parks are recognised as the jewel in the crown of the Auckland Region and an asset that many tourists come to Auckland to enjoy. We urge our political representatives to respect the rights of the people of Auckland to determine how our own city should be developed without government interference and legislation that takes away our right to manage our own land and especially our open space. Any loss of parkland for other purposes should require compensation by central Government to the citizens of Auckland for the purposes of parks acquisition either financially or with alternative parkland of equal public amenity value so that there is at least no net loss of parkland area in Auckland.“

 

In addition our meeting also unanimously supported the following resolution:

“That the Friends of Regional Parks Society calls on the Mayor and Councillors to oppose the Point England Bill and the formation of an Urban Development Authority in the strongest possible terms on behalf of the present citizens of Auckland and future generations.”

 

We have written to the both the Prime Minister and the Mayor of Auckland asking them both to oppose this damaging legislation.

 

The Friends of Regional Parks (Auckland) Inc was formed in 2010 with the objective of supporting the Regional Parks network that is such a vital asset in maintaining and enhancing the health of both Auckland’s residents and the region’s biodiversity. Our membership includes Auckland residents and organisations along with the Federated Mountain Club with its extensive countrywide membership. The Friends of Regional Parks represent approximately 30,000 New Zealanders. Last year we developed a 50 year Vision and Values Plan for the Regional Parks which has been accepted by Auckland Council.


CANDIDATES LOVE REGIONAL PARKS IN SCORECARD TEST

posted Sep 20, 2016, 10:58 PM by Mels Barton

Press Release - For immediate release Monday 19 September 2016

CANDIDATES LOVE REGIONAL PARKS IN SCORECARD TEST

Auckland’s Friends of Regional Parks group has chosen to highlight the issues affecting the hugely popular and iconic Regional Parks in the run up to this year’s local government elections.

Auckland's parks are an essential infrastructure component to achieve the Council's aim of ensuring that the best conditions possible are created for the health, well-being, personal development and happiness of the residents. This has been confirmed by numerous comprehensive international studies that have clearly identified the physical, mental and emotional health benefits that people derive from parks. With Auckland’s rapid growth and intensification Auckland’s Regional Parks are particularly valuable as health promoting sanctuaries from the pressures and intensity of modern life.

Mayoral and Council candidates in Auckland have completed an online survey on Regional Parks by the Friends of Regional Parks group and been allocated a scorecard rating from A-F based on their answers. Any candidate who did not complete the survey was given a default F rating.

Mayoral candidates gave a mixed response and the Friends of Regional Parks group is encouraged that those who chose to respond clearly do value Regional Parks, but disappointed that some of the leading Mayoral candidates did not choose to participate in the survey. Only Mark Thomas, Chloe Swarbrick, Mario Alupis and Alezix Heneti scored an A with John Palino, Binh Thanh Nguyen, Stan Martin and Tyrone Raumati scoring B. David Hay and Aileen Austin scored C with all other Mayoral candidates, including Phil Goff, Vic Crone and Penny Bright failing to complete the survey and scoring a default F.

Council candidates obviously felt the issue was important and 40 of them completed the survey. Of these a total of 26 scored A including Cathy Casey, Chris Darby, Ross Clow, Penny Webster, John Watson, Christine Fletcher, Mike Lee, Richard Hills, Bridgette Sullivan-Taylor, John Bensch, Greg Presland, Grant Gillon, Damien Light, Bill Ralston, Tate Robertson, Fay Freeman, Olivia Montgomery, Wayne Davis, Patrick Cummuskey, Ken Turner, Steven Garner, Anne-Elise Smithson, Richard Leckinger, Peter Chan, Benjamin Lee, Alezix Heneti and Peter Haynes.

A further 9 scored B including Penny Hulse, Linda Cooper, Dick Quax, Boris Sokratov, Mike Padfield, Anne Degia-Pala, Rochelle Gormly, John Riddell, and Holly Southernwood.

Scoring C were Bill Cashmore and David Hay. All other Councillor candidates failed to complete the survey and scored a default F.

The survey asked questions about the candidate’s support for retaining a regional network for parks, expanding and adding to the current Regional Parks network, providing adequate funding and retaining the Ranger service, providing adequate funding for conservation and protection, establishing a dedicated ring-fenced fund for parks acquisitions, supporting the educational role of Regional Parks, providing resources for management of kauri dieback disease, continued support for farming on Regional Parks and retaining decision making for Regional Parks with the governing body. The full list of questions is given below.

Friends of Regional Parks spokesperson Bill Burrill said “the survey clearly shows which candidates take the issue of support for our Regional Parks seriously in Auckland and which do not. We urge voters to support those candidates who have scored well in this survey. Regional Parks are an essential part of the region’s infrastructure, which Council has an important role to enhance and protect, and we want to enable voters to make an informed choice.”


Friends of Regional Parks Questions for Auckland Council Candidates 2016

1. Do you support maintaining the current network of Regional Parks as a cohesive and effective whole to be managed regionally as a network? Yes / No

2.  Do you support expanding and adding to the Regional Parks network in line with the increasing population of Auckland (several parks are reaching full capacity on occasions)? Yes / No

3. Do you support providing adequate funding to adequately meet operational costs and to retain high quality specialist Regional Parks staff and rangers? Yes / No

4. Do you support the provision of resources for the conservation and protection of the special environments, flora and fauna within the parks and of the Auckland area? Yes / No

5. Do you support the establishment of a dedicated ring fenced fund for the acquisition of future Regional Parks in line with projected population growth? Yes / No

6. Do you support ensuring the continuation of the educational resource that the Regional Parks currently provide for present and future generations? Yes / No

7. Do you support ensuring that adequate attention and resources are available for the protection of Auckland’s iconic Kauri forests and for the operational management to prevent further spread of Kauri Dieback disease? Yes / No

8. Do you support enhancing the understanding and connection between urban dwellers and farming through continued support for farming on Regional Parks? Yes / No

9. Do you support retaining decision making for Regional Parks with the Governing Body? Yes / No


Press Release Monday 29 August 2016: REGIONAL PARKS FOCUS FOR CANDIDATES

posted Aug 29, 2016, 7:06 PM by Mels Barton

Auckland’s Friends of Regional Parks group has approached candidates standing for the Auckland Mayoralty and Council to find out their views on Regional Parks in order to inform voters in the upcoming election.

Auckland's parks are an essential infrastructure component to achieve the Council's aim of ensuring that the best conditions possible are created for the health, well-being, personal development and happiness of the residents. This has been confirmed by numerous comprehensive international studies that have clearly identified the physical, mental and emotional health benefits that people derive from parks. With Auckland’s rapid growth and intensification Auckland’s Regional Parks are particularly valuable as health promoting sanctuaries from the pressures and intensity of modern life.


Therefore in conjunction with the Auckland Regional Parks 50 –Year Vision and Values Plan (attached) the Friends of Regional Parks are requesting candidates to show what commitment they would specifically give as Mayor or Councillor to the survey questions. All Mayoral and Council candidates are invited to respond. Results will generate a "score card" for each candidate which will be publicised. No response to any question will result in a zero score for that question. Candidates who do not complete the survey will be scored with the lowest result in the scorecard.


The survey questions are as follows:


1. Do you support maintaining the current network of Regional Parks as a cohesive and effective whole to be managed regionally as a network? Yes / No


2.  Do you support expanding and adding to the Regional Parks network in line with the increasing population of Auckland (several parks are reaching full capacity on occasions)? Yes / No


3. Do you support providing adequate funding to adequately meet operational costs and to retain high quality specialist Regional Parks staff and rangers? Yes / No


4. Do you support the provision of resources for the conservation and protection of the special environments, flora and fauna within the parks and of the Auckland area? Yes / No


5. Do you support the establishment of a dedicated ring fenced fund for the acquisition of future Regional Parks in line with projected population growth? Yes / No


6. Do you support ensuring the continuation of the educational resource that the Regional Parks currently provide for present and future generations? Yes / No


7. Do you support ensuring that adequate attention and resources are available for the protection of Auckland’s iconic Kauri forests and for the operational management to prevent further spread of Kauri Dieback disease? Yes / No


8. Do you support enhancing the understanding and connection between urban dwellers and farming through continued support for farming on Regional Parks? Yes / No


9. Do you support retaining decision making for Regional Parks with the Governing Body? Yes / No


All Mayoral and Councillor candidates who provided an email contact address with their nomination form will receive an email invitation to complete the survey which will close on Monday 12 September. Any candidates who have not yet received an invitation can request one by emailing treasurer@forparks.org.nz



ENDS

Contact:

Bill Burrill, Chair Friends of Regional Parks. Ph 021 978139


Friends of Regional Parks Newsletter April 2016

posted May 10, 2016, 9:53 PM by Mels Barton   [ updated May 10, 2016, 9:56 PM ]

Hello Friends of Regional Parks Members and Parks Supporters,

With the warm sunny days of summer Auckland’s regional parks appear to have been even more popular and

well used than previous years and with the predicted increase in Auckland’s population, the importance of

maintaining and increasing our regional parks is very evident. We hope that 2016 has got off to a good start for

you and you have enjoyed some happy days in a regional park.


The Regional Parks Precinct Crisis

The committee’s attention has for some time been largely devoted to working towards ensuring that Regional

Parks are receiving appropriate consideration and treatment during the ongoing Auckland Unitary Plan (AUP)

process.

In this regard we were extremely concerned to discover that in December council staff had filed a proposal to

delete the Regional Park Precinct from the AUP. We believe that this proposal was and is quite inappropriate

and if adopted it would be seriously detrimental to our regional parks network. At short notice FOR Parks

prepared a statement setting out the reasons that, as a preferred option, a separate zone should be created for

Regional Parks, (which we drafted) or failing that, the Regional Parks Precinct must be retained. This

statement and zone proposal were presented by myself as chairman and Bronwen as author of the statement

to the Independent Hearing Panel on the 22 nd February and we received a good hearing from the panel. At the

direction of the Panel a subsequent meeting between the council planner responsible for the proposal and

ourselves was held. A follow up summary of our views on this meeting was forwarded to the Independent

Hearing Panel. We will not know the outcome until the IHP releases its recommended Unitary Plan later this

year, however we are hopeful that at the very least the precinct will be retained even though we would prefer a

separate zone for the Regional Parks.

We are greatly indebted to Bronwen for the work she has done putting together FOR Parks statement on this

and for all the other work she has done preparing FOR Parks submissions to the unitary plan, appearing

before the Independent Hearing Panel and keeping track of the complications and ramifications of the Unitary

Plan as it affects Regional Parks.


Variation to the Regional Park Management Plan to include Te Muri

Following the initial public consultations, a draft management plan for Te Muri was put out by the council at the

end of 2015 for public submissions. The most critical aspect of the plan is the means by which public access to

Te Muri parkland is to be provided and the location of the public arrival area. Friends of Regional Parks

believes that the development of Te Muri parkland presents an opportunity to both maintain the very special

qualities of Te Muri and to create something exceptional for Auckland. Friends of Regional Parks is strongly

supportive of the concept of access to the park being provided principally by a pedestrian and cycle way as per

the proposed Mahurangi Coastal Trail referred to below, rather than by vehicle access to the beach area. FOR

Parks has presented a submission reflecting this view.


Mahurangi Coastal Trail a 50th Anniversary legacy project

As noted in a previous newsletter the concept of pedestrian and cycle connections between green areas is one

that is supported by FOR Parks and the committee resolved that joining Mahurangi Action Inc in progressing

this coastal trail would be a fitting way of marking fifty years of Regional Parks. The Mahurangi Coastal Trail

Trust has been formally established as a charitable trust for the purpose of this project.

The trail would connect the first and the last parkland purchased by the Auckland Regional Council

(Wenderholm) to the 383-hectare Peter Schischka farm at Te Muri. In so doing, it will link three special regional

parks.

Creation of this coastal trail would give a number of benefits including amongst others earlier public access,

minimising human impact on the special character of Te Muri, enabling access to three regional parks utilising

public transport and the provision of a further link to Te Araroa, the national walkway.


Friends of Regional Parks Newsletter August 2015

posted Sep 16, 2015, 3:10 PM by Mels Barton

Mahurangi Regional Park East Block Addition
During 2015 the council acquired 20 hectares of land comprising the headland at the northeastern end of Big Bay. The mainly forested headland contains some impressively large native tree and the opportunity for outstanding views back over Big Bay and beyond.

Te Rau Puriri Regional Park Addition
In July the Council issued a press release to announce that it had purchased the 78 hectare South Kaipara Head farm of Cedric and Dianne McLeod to add to the adjacent 247 hectare Te Rau Puriri Regional Park. The press release noted that the addition of the farm, which has extensive beachfront, will give the public easy access to Waipiro Bay. Auckland Council manager of regional parks, Richard Hollier indicated that any development of the park would be some way off yet.

Friends of Regional Parks visit to Te Rau Puriri Regional Park 20th September 2015
The Friends of Regional Parks invite members and any interested people to join them in a visit to Te Rau Puriri Regional Park. This park at South Head on the South Kaipara Peninsula is a relatively new park giving access to the southern shoreline of the Kaipara Harbour and offering fine views over the harbour.

The Regional Park shares a boundary with the Department of Conservation’s Lake Otoatoa Reserve and thus allows the interesting possibility of the creation of a track from the east coast of the South Head Peninsula right across to the Woodhill Forest on the west coast. Lack of funding for both the Regional Park and DOC seems to be the reason this concept has not been progressed.

To get to Te Rau Puriri take State Highway 16 to Parkhurst Road, Helensville and follow Parkhurst Road to continue on South Head Road (37kms in total from the roundabout where you turned left onto Parkhurst Road to the park).

When you see the park sign on your right do not attempt to turn right to the parking area at the park entrance as it is dangerous to do so due to it being on a blind bend. Continue on a short distance to a graveled area on the left side of the road. You could either park here and walk back or turn with care and drive back to the park entrance.

We will meet at 11.00am in the entrance on South Head Road. Travel time from Auckland CBD to the park is approximately 1hr 15mins.

Bring your lunch, raincoat and suitable walking footwear.

Please indicate your interest in joining this visit by emailing or phoning one of the contacts below. We may try to car-pool where possible.
Email B.Burrill@clear.net.nz or treasurer@forparks.org.nz or ph 09 4260327

Friends of Regional Parks visit to Tapapakanga 20th June 2015
Unfortunately the weather on the day decided to be rather unpleasant and consequently encouraged most people to stay home out of the rain.

Friends of Arataki present the Orpheus tragedy Sunday 13th September 2015
Friends of Regional Parks committee member Trixie and her husband Bruce Harvey will tell the story and show the DVD of New Zealand’s greatest maritime tragedy, the sinking of the HMS Orpheus on the Manukau Bar. Join them for a soup lunch and presentation, noon at Arataki Vistor Centre Lecture Room, Sunday 13th September.

Mark your calendars now and plan to bring the young ones to Friends of Arataki Annual Kids Day Sunday November 8th from 11am to 3pm.

FoA are also working to replace the picnic set at Arataki and install interpretive signange along Scenic Driv

Waitakere Ranges and Ark in the Park
The latest news is that six more kokako were released over the 20th to 23rd of August period in the Ark area and that these birds from Mangatutu took enthusiastically to their new home.

Hunua Ranges Regional Park
Pest control work is underway to reduce the effect of an explosion in rat numbers and possums in order to protect the kokako population and the work of the volunteers in the Hunua Ranges.

Mahurangi Coastal Trail
FOR Parks is assisting to establish a trust to lead development of the Mahurangi Coastal Trail linking Wenderholm, Te Muri and Mahurangi regional parks.

The Trust is seeking contributions towards the construction of the bridges crossing the Puhoi and Te Muri stream. Initially it is asking a small number of people to contribute $1500 (spread over 3 years) to demonstrate public support of the project sufficient to raise additional funds from trusts and foundations. A fundraiser on November 15th will celebrate contributors of over $500.

We would be delighted if you or someone you know would contribute to the project. If you would like to contribute, pass along names of potential donors, come to the fund raiser or you want more information about the project, please contact Cimino Cole at strategy@mahurangi.org.nz.

Te Muri Submission
FOR Parks submitted comments to the conceptual planning work of Auckland Council towards development of Te Muri regional park. Of importance to us is keeping the open feeling, views and landscape, restricting vehicle access and as a first step, installing the Mahurangi Coastal Trail. In addition to being a relatively inexpensive way to quickly open the park, we believe the trail will set the precedent for people accessing the park using public transport, walking, riding or cycling rather than driving in their car. Further public comment will be invited once a draft concept plan for the park is released in a few months.

50 year Anniversary Programme
Regional Parks has created a programme of activities throughout 2016 to celebrate the opening of Wenderholm in December 2015 and the subsequent 50 years of the modern Regional Park system. Mark your calendars and plan to be part of these events:

21 February Commemoration at the Botanic Gardens
19 – 20 March Big Campout/Sleep out – can we fill every camping spot in the Regional Parks?
June 2016 Matariki breakfast at Arataki Visitor Centre
May – July Planting 18,250 trees to celebrate 18,250 days of Regional Parks
7 – 10 October Ambury Farm Day

Unitary Plan and LTP - Financial Cuts to Park Funding
FOR Parks continues to speak to its submission as the Unitary Plan hearings progress. We also provided input to the Long Term Plan and we’re particularly concerned about the lack of funding provided in the LTP for acquisition and development of Regional Parks, especially in the face of projected population increases. Regional Parks operations and maintenance budgets are also being reduced with community groups being asked to take on maintenance of parks facilities.

Golf Courses
FOR Parks is monitoring with concern discussions within Auckland Council about redeveloping golf courses and other open spaces within urban Auckland. These serve as vital green spaces and natural areas and once developed can never be reclaimed. Their loss could lead to increased pressure on remaining parks and Regional Parks.

News from AGM
Our thanks to Richard Hollier, Manager of Regional Parks, for updating members at the AGM on the budget pressures being placed on Regional Parks operations as well as plans for celebrating the existence of the Regional Parks for 50 years.

We are also grateful to the enthusiastic supporters from Rodney and Mahurangi who made a special trip to the AGM to present plans for the Mahurangi Coastal Trail. Members enthusiastically support their efforts.

At the AGM members reelected the current Society officers and committee members. They’re listed below with email addresses should you wish to contact any one of us:
Bill Burrill, Chair; b.burrill@clear.net.nz
Bronwen Turner, Deputy Chair; kiwibonnie@yahoo.com
Mels Barton, Secretary; melsbarton@gmail.com
Ralph Lyon, Treasurer; treasurer@forparks.org.nz
Committee members Trixie Harvey (brutrix@xtra.co.nz), Estella Lee (estellalee3@gmail.com), Robert Woolf (Robert.woolf@gmail.com), Cimino Cole (editor@mahurangi.org.nz) and Kit Howden (kithowden10@gmail.com).

Our finances are modest but in good shape with a balance of $3,343.53 at the end of the financial year. Thanks to Trixie and Bruce Harvey for organizing supper.
As always we would be delighted if members could join us at our committee meetings, which usually are held on the second Monday of every month at 4pm on the first floor of the Central Library.

Membership Renewal Reminder
A gentle reminder to those of you who haven’t renewed your membership that subs are now due: $20 member/family, $10 non-earner. You can pay them directly into our Kiwibank account number 38-9011-0011443-00 and please note your name or contact Ralph Lyon for more information at treasurer@forparks.org.nz.

Thank you for your continuing support.
Best regards,
Bill Burrill, Chair

Friends of Regional Parks visit to Te Rau Puriri Regional Park 20th September 2015

posted Sep 16, 2015, 2:45 PM by Mels Barton

The Friends of Regional Parks invite members and any interested people to join them in a visit to Te Rau Puriri Regional Park. This park at South Head on the South Kaipara Peninsula is a relatively new park giving access to the southern shoreline of the Kaipara Harbour and offering fine views over the harbour.

The Regional Park shares a boundary with the Department of Conservation’s Lake Otoatoa Reserve and thus allows the interesting possibility of the creation of a track from the east coast of the South Head Peninsula right across to the Woodhill Forest on the west coast. Lack of funding for both the Regional Park and DOC seems to be the reason this concept has not been progressed.

To get to Te Rau Puriri take State Highway 16 to Parkhurst Road, Helensville and follow Parkhurst Road to continue on South Head Road  (37kms in total from the roundabout where you turned left onto Parkhurst Road to the park).

When you see the park sign on your right do not attempt to turn right to the parking area at the park entrance as it is dangerous to do so due to it being on a blind bend. Continue on a short distance to a  graveled area on the left side of the road. You could either park here and walk back or turn with care and drive back to the park entrance.

We will meet at 11.00am in the entrance on South Head Road. Travel time from Auckland CBD to the park is approximately 1hr 15mins. Cancellation news in case of bad weather will be posted here on the morning of the visit.


Media Release - 30 August 2010

posted Oct 24, 2010, 5:50 PM by Admin FORParks

MEDIA RELEASE: Friends of Regional Parks

30 August 2010

New Group formed to protect regional parks

Last Thursday (26 August 2010) a group, named Friends of Regional Parks, was formed to advocate, protect and ensure the regional parks of greater Auckland are given priority within the new Auckland Council.

The purpose of this group is to both challenge and support the management and political backing of the regional parks network. There is growing concern that regional parks may be under threat or face uncertainty in the new local government ‘Super City’ organisation

Regional parks supporters and representatives from at least 12 community groups elected outgoing regional councillor Bill Burrill, a former chairman of the Auckland Regional Council’s (ARC) regional parks committee, as leader.

“We want to see the continuation of good governance and park management that supporters of regional parks have come to know and respect,” says Mr Burrill.

“There are fears that the ranger and volunteer services might be less effective in the new structure and there is growing concern amongst supporter groups and volunteers that, unless there is strong citizen advocacy, the parks may be neglected by the new Council.”

Importantly, Mr Burrill stresses that the Friends of Regional Parks does not take the place of existing supporter groups.

“As well as supporting the use, growth and development of regional parks, the Friends of Regional Parks will support existing volunteer organisations and Friends groups.

“Groups like the Tawharanui Open Sanctuary Society Inc (TOSSI) and Shakespear Open Sanctuary Society Inc (SOSSI) are already strong and enthusiastic advocates for their park or project and we don’t wish to supplant their involvement.

“We welcome interested citizens to get involved with the Friends of Regional Parks so that regional parks continue to be protected and expanded and provide the conservation, recreation and economic benefits to greater Auckland,” says Mr Burrill.

Mr Burrill and an interim committee of seven members will meet in the next few weeks to begin work on the principles and constitution of the new group. An AGM will be scheduled for early 2011.

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