Television air access to Olivines causes concern

Television New Zealand's First Crossings show has raised a couple of eyebrows within the Otago Conservation Board.

Though he could not attend last week's meeting in Cromwell, board member David Barnes, in an email, said he had concerns about how the show depicted the Olivine Wilderness Area in the Mt Aspiring National Park.

''I'm concerned that permission was given for air access to the Olivines on the basis that it was for management purposes, with the management purpose being to sell the concept of wilderness areas, why we have them and their protection.''

Department of Conservation Wakatipu area manager Greg Lind, who approved the access, told the board there was meant to be something included in the specific episodes which visited the area to explain the concept of a wilderness region.

He said unfortunately, it seemed to have been edited out of the final version but there could be an opportunity for it to be included on the DVD.

At the meeting, the 83,000ha area was likened to the Antarctic - remote, beautiful and pristine.

A wilderness area is intended to be accessed only on foot. Under legislation, mechanised access is not normally permitted, except for conservation management and emergencies or search and rescue.


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