Council, runanga to strengthen ties

Gary Kircher
Gary Kircher
Possible ‘‘mutual benefits’’ can be realised if the Waitaki District Council and Te Runanga O Moeraki continue to foster a relationship, Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher says.

In his mayoral report tabled at last week’s full council meeting in Oamaru, Mr Kircher said a January 25 meeting between the two parties focused on their ongoing relationship, ‘‘with commitments given to strengthen how we engage with each other’’.

Speaking to the Otago Daily Times yesterday, he said the council was committed to furthering its relationship with the Moeraki-based group and wanted to include it more in council-backed projects and initiatives.

It had also agreed to more regular meetings.

‘‘I think it’s a good relationship, but one we are still growing. There’s increasing opportunities for us to work together and certainly enthusiasm to do that.’’

Such opportunities included the council’s aspiring Waitaki Whitestone Geopark project, possible tourism opportunities at Kaitiki Point near the seaside township, the proposed multimillion-dollar coastal cycle trail between Oamaru and Dunedin and issues such as housing.

‘‘We want to include them in processes, partly to comply with legislation, but also because we do think they have a lot to offer, so that’s an ongoing aspect I suppose of our working together,’’ Mr Kircher said.

‘‘There’s definitely mutual benefits in doing so. One example would be looking at the coastal cycle trail as we go through the planning stages of that. The trail would go through Moeraki and Katiki Point, where the runanga own land, which, along with Doc, includes the yellow-eyed penguins and seal colonies and so forth. There’s really good opportunities for us to have them as attractions ... but also for the runanga to perhaps invest in those areas as well.’’

Te Runanga O Moeraki executive Nola Tipa and upoko David Higgins could not be contacted for comment yesterday.

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