1984 – 1995

In 1984 the Manukau City Council released a Structure Plan for this coastal block of land.  As Chairman of the local Forest and Bird Society (RFBPS) I started a campaign to draw public attention to the unique nature of this land.  It has superb seascape views, overlooking steep pasture and coastal bush continuous with salt marsh vegetation and mangroves in the creek.  Such a succession of ecosystems is found nowhere else in ManukauCity.  The pasture land is unstable and is needed as a protective buffer for the bush.

In a submission to Council the RFBPS in 1984 proposed that the whole block be purchased for passive recreation.  Written support to Council for this was given by others in response to a photograph and my article in the Eastern Courier.  The result was the land was not rezoned pending further investigations by Council.

In 1987, the owner, Mr A H (Archie) Somerville requested MCC to rezone the land for residential development.  In articles on behalf of the RFBPS in the Howick and Pakuranga Times in 1987-8 I again drew attention to the special nature of this coastal block, urging people to write to the Mayor to express their wish for it to be purchased for a reserve, as the RFBPS planned to do.

Our campaigns involved newspaper articles, letters, phone calls, many meetings and discussions with individuals and organisations.  Over time the support was gained of the Mayor, Councillors, the ARC, Department of Conservation, National Parks and Reserves Authority, Auckland QE II Trust, local environmental groups and the public. * This resulted in the proposed Second Reviewed District Scheme designating the whole coastal block as a reserve.  On behalf of the RFBPS I made submissions in supporting this designation and cross-objected to objections by A H Somerville, Howick Parklands and J G Mellsopp.  Our cross-objection included the signatures of 245 members of the public supporting a reserve. Similar cross-objections were lodged by other local groups supporting the RFBPS.  This was followed by a Hearing in 1990 where I gave evidence for RFBPS.  Other groups and the ARC supported the reserve designation in submissions.  The Hearing Committee retained the proposed reserve designation with a minor adjustment.

At an Appeal in 1992 by Mr Somerville the Environment   Court upheld MCC’s decision.

During the drawn-out campaign the RFBPS reserve proposal was supported by the Tamaki Estuary Protection Society, Howick and District Historical Society, Whitford Residents and Ratepayers’ Association, the Mangemangeoa Estuary Protection Association and the Shelley Park Yacht Club.  These organisations made submissions, gave evidence at hearings, or wrote letters to the local press.  Individual people also wrote letters to the local papers supporting the RFBPS proposal.  The ARC also gave very valuable support.  All of this was important for the success of the campaign.

What relief and jubilation everyone concerned felt when at last in 1994 MCC announced the purchase of the Mangemangeroa block for a reserve for all to enjoy.

Betty M. B. Harris