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WRHA Buffer Zone

Waiatarua, at the heart of the Waitakere Ranges, marks a transition between Auckland City and the lush native rain forest to the west that stretches to the coast. 

Waiatarua is then central locale of the so-called ‘buffer-zone’ between the ever-growing city and the forest of old New Zealand.

In 2008 Sir Bob Harvey, Sandra Coney and others [if you can provide further details of this history please get in touch] succeeded in having the New Zealand Government establish this in legislation as:

Waitakere Ranges Heritage Area Act 2008


(1) Whakarongo mai e nga iwi, ki ta te korero i mua. He ika tenei whenua. Ko te tangata nana i huti ko Maui. Kei konei tonu ahau, a mate noa:

Listen all of the assembled tribes, to this the talk of olden times, this land is a fish. The person who fished it up was Maui. I will remain here on it, indeed until I die:

(Waitakere Chief Te Waatarauihi speaking of his relationship to the area in his opening speech at the Kohimarama Conference in 1860):

(2) The Waitakere Ranges and its foothills and coasts comprise an area of some 27 720 ha of public and private land located between metropolitan Auckland and the west coast of Waitakere City and Rodney District. The area is of local, regional, and national significance:

(3) The area is outstanding in northern New Zealand for its terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, which include large continuous areas of primary and regenerating lowland and coastal rainforest, wetland, and dune systems with intact ecological sequences. The area contains distinctive and outstanding flora, fauna, and landscapes:

(4) The Waitakere Ranges (part of a remnant volcanic landform) are the western visual backdrop to metropolitan Auckland. Their forested hills and coastal vistas are essential to the identity of both Waitakere City and metropolitan Auckland. The foothills and coastal areas are a combination of rural, urban, and natural landscapes that create an important transition and buffer zone to the forested part of the Ranges:

(5) The area has a long and rich human history. It is a distinctive cultural domain for Maori and lies within the rohe of both Te Kawerau A Maki and Ngati Whatua. European settlement began more than 160 years ago with one of the first attempts at organised colonial settlement of New Zealand made in the south of the area, at Cornwallis in 1841. A century of resource exploitation followed that has left its mark on the whole area

We who have lived in Waiatarua for more than a little while start to come to understand the importance of maintaining a buffer between our urban vitality and our natural heritage.

View the whole Act here: