Okere Falls Scenic Reserve near Rotorua is threatened by a proposal by Okere Adventures to build and operate a seven-stage zipline. The application by Okere Adventures was publicly notified on the Department of Conservation website.
Okere Falls Scenic Reserve is renowned for the waterfalls on the Kaituna River, which provide a challenging run to kayakers and white-water rafters, and magnificent scenery to over 110,000 people each year who walk the Okere Falls Track. The proposed zipline would cross the Kaituna River and Okere Falls Track numerous times, spoiling the experience for recreational users of the reserve, and adding to the already heavy use of the place by concessionaires.
FMC is firmly against the proposed zipline, and wrote a submission to the Department of Conservation.
The main recommendations in our submission are that:
- The application should be declined because it is not consistent with the purpose for which the land is held.
- The application should be declined because the zipline could reasonably be built in another location.
- The application should be declined, because it is inconsistent with the principles of Conservation General Policy, including the recognition of and guarding against cumulative effects and the protection of natural quiet.
- The application should be declined in the absence of a community negotiated management plan for the reserve, which would allow assessment of a full range of alternative futures for the place consistent with Conservation General Policy.
- The application should be declined because of the activity’s negative effects, including crowding and detrimental visual and aural effects on a protected landscape that is already highly used and appreciated by the public.
Image at top: Tutea falls on the Kaituna River, Rotorua, New Zealand. Photo credit Pukekoweka, shared from Wikimedia Commons under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.