The land comprising Te Oka Reserve was acquired as a recreation reserve subject to the Reserves Act 1977 for the purpose of a new regional park in 2009. A management plans in accordance with Section 41 of the Reserves Act now need to be prepared.
This park, made up of four parcels of land, was formally the 903 hectare Te Oka Farm, a coastal headland property adjoining Tumbledown and Te Oka Bays in the southern bays sector of Banks Peninsula.
The purpose of acquisition was for the protection and enhancement of the area’s biodiversity, and to provide recreation opportunities.
Te Oka Reserve covers an altitudinal range from sea level up to about 680 metres in altitude. It is the only public park on Banks Peninsula / Te Pātaka o Rākaihautū that provides the opportunity for sea to summit ecological restoration.
The park contains two high quality biodiversity sites covering approximately 280 hectares, as well as a much larger area with significant conservation value.
There is about 7 hectares of old growth podocarp forest, which is a remnant of the original pre-European forest that once dominated Banks Peninsula. There is also a considerable amount of tōtara regeneration, with trees from 3 to 5 metres in height scattered through both the two valleys in the park.
All four of the common Banks Peninsula podocarps are present in the park, including kahikatea, matai, lowland tōtara and Halls tōtara.
The park contains three plant species that are listed on the New Zealand threatened plant list. One of these, a fern ally called Tmesipteris, has two identified populations in the park. It appears to be very uncommon and has been given a threat rating of ‘Nationally Critical’, the highest level of threat.
The Te Oka Bay Stream has very high values for its freshwater fish (7 species) and Tumbledown Stream has possibly slightly higher values as it has two more species than Te Oka (9 species).
The majority (nearly 600 hectares) of the park continues to be farmed with an onsite farm manager. Further areas will be retired from grazing in time, although it is expected some stock grazing will be continued in selected areas to control weed growth.
Park values for recreation purposes include:
Banks Peninsula Community Board approval for public notification of the intent to prepare the plan.
Public notification to start initial issues gathering/receipt of suggestions.
Close of receipt of written suggestions after one calendar month duration.
Community board approval for public release of the draft plan/start of public consultation.
Close of public consultation after three calendar month duration.
Approval of the draft plan as the operative plan by the community board.