Brown’s Island to become regional park

PRICELESS: Brown’s Island Motukorea. Times photo Wayne Martin.

Brown’s Island Motukorea has become Auckland Council’s newest Regional Park and its first island park.

And the news is being welcome by Auckland’s Friends of Regional Parks (FOR Parks), says President Bronwen Turner.

“Browns Island Regional Park adds to the region’s chain of priceless Regional Parks along the coast and in the Hauraki Gulf,” she said.

“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.

Volunteers on the island. Photo supplied

The new park also offers opportunities for volunteers to work with council to restore the ecology of the 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 per cent of Aucklanders’ recreation is informal such as biking, walking and enjoying beaches, with only 25 per cent involved in organised sport.

FOR Parks believes 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.

History
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.