Media Release – Ngāti Koata and Council working together on recreation access

21 September 2022

Nelson City Council’s Community and Recreation Committee agreed on Thursday, 15 September, to continue working with Ngāti Koata on a long-term agreement for recreational use of Ngāti Koata owned land. The resolution will go to a full Council meeting in September for final approval.  

The important strategic statement confirms Council’s commitment to maintaining and improving recreational access to the high-value trail networks on Ngāti Koata whenua by seeking an agreement that will benefit both parties.  

Chair of the Community and Recreation Committee Councillor Tim Skinner says the decision acknowledges our relationship with Ngāti Koata and the value of their whenua for recreation and confirms the Council’s commitment to improving access to that land.  

“Ngāti Koata owns a significant network of mountain biking and other recreation trails and is an essential partner to Council in providing some of our best recreational areas. Ngāti Koata has managed and subsidised public recreation on its whenua, which often flows from Council trails.  

“We need an agreement that takes a long-term strategic approach to the recreational use of Ngāti Koata whenua and benefits both parties. This will ensure future community access and enjoyment continues, and will enable future development of those areas,” says Councillor Skinner. 

Chief Executive of Ngāti Koata Hemi Toia says, “Ngāti Koata values its relationship with Nelson City Council and the wider community of Nelson and Te Tauihu and the significant wellbeing and economic benefits recreational activity brings to the region.  

“Moving forward, Ngāti Koata is unable to continue subsidising recreational use of land that has a primarily economic kaupapa for Ngāti Koata. We are, however, very open to contributing to a big, bold and world-class vision for recreation for the enjoyment of all in a very special environment right on the city’s doorstep.  

“We look forward to working closely with Council staff and elected members to achieve a mutually beneficial, sustainable and long-term outcome for the use of Ngāti Koata whenua for recreational purposes,” says Toia.  

Nelson Mountain Bike Club (NMTBC) Chair Matt Ball supports the Council working towards continued access to tracks on Ngāti Koata land and acknowledges the internationally recognised value of this land for recreation.  

“We are excited to see movement on this and want to extend a big thanks to Ngāti Koata and the Nelson City Council for continuing to work towards making this happen. We respect the importance of these lands to all the parties and hope we can be a part in making them prime recreation land to be enjoyed for generations of Nelsonians to come,” says Ball.  

2018 report estimated the value added to the Nelson economy by mountain bike trails in the Nelson-Tasman region is worth $17.1 million total new and retained spending annually, a total of $15.5 million in GDP, and total additional employment of 211 FTEs.  

Ngāti Koata recreation trails cross over from Council and Department of Conservation land, including some parts of the Codgers and Fringed Hill area, the Sharlands area, and a small section of the Coppermine Trail (a nationally significant Great Ride).   

A mutually advantageous long-term agreement will be a priority for consideration through the 2023/24 Annual Plan, and the 2023-34 Long Term Plan.  

Since December 2020, Council has had an interim agreement with Ngāti Koata to enable public recreation access.