Kapiti Island News

1a waterDOC trying to improve quality of Island visits

By Alan Tristram

The Department of Conservation (DOC) says work is continuing to increase the quality of visits to Kapiti Island, with the island being pushed as a world-class tourism destination.

But new, and higher, charges appear to be turning some prospective visitors off.

Fewer visitors

A DOC media release this week shows that, despite a big marketing push, slightly fewer people visited the predator-free island this summer.

The drop was also in spite of fees being waived for school trips; and an increase in the number of people allowed on the island each day.

The permit system raised the price of a trip to island for a family of four from about $190 to $300. It also increased the number of commercial operators allowed to run tours to the island and gave them responsibility for issuing permits.

Meanwhile, the upgrading work continues, Doc says.

The planning has entailed visits to the island with contractors, architects and engineers – and $450,000 has been budgeted for new projects (aside from and upgrade to the Whare).

These include:

New tracks giving more options for Rangatira visitors.

To show the lowland wetlands at Rangatira flat, a wetland boardwalk was built at the beginning of the 2012/2013 summer season.

The wetland boardwalk allows visitors to explore the lowland bush without bumping into the DOC infrastructure at the southern end of Rangatira flat.

The next step in creating more opportunities to explore Rangatira flat is another kilometre of lowland track, which will extend to the north and west of the lowland area. Construction of the track will begin

early this month (June).

Wilkinson track upgrade

Resurfacing will be done on parts of the Wilkinson track in July and August, taking two to three weeks to complete. The most slippery parts of the track will become easier for visitors to walk.

Toilets, waste water system, and shelter upgrade

And other plans to improve the visitor experience on Kapiti Island include:

New toilets at Rangatira flat, with three cubicles instead of the current two. Construction is planned for early June.

An upgrade of the waste water system, which is again planned for early this month.

The visitor shelter at Rangatira flat received a new island map this season. The shelter is about to be upgraded to include tiered seating, storage for concessionaires/tour operators mand to become weather proof.

Whare

DOC will soon be undertaking work on the Whare to strengthen the chimney. Additionally, funding is being sought from the DOC National Historic funding pool to undertake further restoration work on

this important building (the oldest building in New Zealand associated with conservation!).

If the funding bid is successful, this will involve both exterior work and major restoration of the main (kitchen/living) room.

It is hoped that once this project is completed there will be greater visitor access to the Whare, where visitors will get a closer look and a better feel for what this little farmstead was like in the late 19th/early 20th century.

Departure lounge/visitor centre

DOC and the Kapiti Coast District Council have teamed up to look into the feasibility of having a departure lounge/visitor centre for Kapiti Island at Paraparaumu beach.

TRC Tourism has been awarded the contract for completing a feasibility study of this facility. Work has already begun on the

study and the report will be completed by the end of the month.

Rangatira Research Project

This will examine what assets are currently offered at Rangatira and what could be offered in the future.

 

ld be offered in the future.

The Horowhenua TPPA action group is holding a meeting in Otaki, The Tele Hotel on Saturday 23rd January at 10am till noon. Is it possible to cover this in your paper.

Would you have time to give me a call…..06 368 3908
Thank you
Morgan

Where do I start with this season at Kapiti, the districts longest established iconic tourism destination. The DOC report writer’s decision to include December and January figures in the report grossly inflates the dire situation. Visitor numbers were vastly less than the percentages in the report show. Since 1st Feb ( D_Day ) the over 20 local seasonal workers on the Island, tractor drivers, tour guides, skippers have all lost countless days work. Many have left their positions.

This has been the worst season in living memory, and for DOC to maintain they are working with operators to mitigate damage, through new inituitives is shameful. What is the point of screwing a new map sign to the visitor shelter wall when DOC have expected us (guides) who they don’t even employ to run up and down the island cleaning all the visitor toilets all season because they (DOC) forgot to organise a new contractor. Just an example of the complete and utter shambles the island is in now.

PS Merky, all it takes has been a quick word from a seasoned guide to a seasoned DOC contractor to point out the wasp nests and yes we spray all the ones we see in public areas. Don’t ask any new staff though, they get bogged down for months in paperwork in triplicate before they even order the spray.

DOC has been approached by island residents, land owners to assist with the wasp problem, to date the minister states there is no problem and DOC refer back to that statement.
DOC undertook an eradication of wasps using a nest mite when peter griffin and penny were caretaking about 15 years ago, it was a complete success based on my observations since the eradication was done, it was a nest mite of some type, I cannot find any reference to this program on the internet nor will DOC assist with researching this, to date 🙂
I don’t know why, perhaps it was an unauthorized release ? or something.
The wasp population has been increasing the past four to five years noticeably.

DoC is under tremendous pressure to earn more revenue but over-pricing the cost of visits to Kapiti Island is not the way to attract more visitors – it’s simply killing the goose that lays the golden eggs.

Kapiti Island is a jewel in New Zealand’s environmental crown and should be readily accessible as an international showcase of what can be achieved.

Setting prices to those who can afford them sets a level of exclusiveness which should never be allowed to feature in the ability of everybody to see how the natural world used to be.

Why “it has been suggested” haven’t the kcdc / iwi looked at the soon to be surplus Raumati pools complex for the Island tourism hub/base ?
Excellent launching ramp, easy to get to from SH1, won’t affect the coastguard / boat club/ dive club/ public access to the beach etc.

They should put some resources into sorting the wasp problem out.
Who’s responsible if a tourist gets stung and dies in the wasp season.
whats one of the worst predators for native birds.
Why is there “no problem”

Unfortunately the line between conservation and profit is far too easy to miss.