Neighbours overlooking the Southern end of Matakana Island might start to notice the landscape change, as contractors begin to harvest the mature pine trees on the island.
90 hectares of mature pine trees will start to be felled from Monday 16 October 2023.
Revenue from harvesting the trees, owned by Western Bay of Plenty District Council, will go towards funding the building of the much-needed replacement wharf at Panepane Point.
“We want to let the community know, because we know that the beautiful taonga of Matakana is part of the unique and precious landscape around Tauranga Moana. It’s going to look a bit different along the island foreshore for a few years and we are working hard to restore the native flora and fauna at Panepane Point,” explains Council’s Reserves and Facilities Manager, Peter Watson.
“Working with the local hapū from Matakana Island, we will replant in appropriate native trees and shrubs for approximately 20 metres inland around the outside of the island at Panepane Point, and the balance area will be a new crop of pines.
“This harvest, and the reinvestment of the revenue into the replacement wharf that we need to keep our island thriving, is an important step for the hapū that are connected
to Matakana Island.”
Council still owns Panepane Point, despite formalising a transfer to return most of the whenua at the eastern end of the island to a local trust in October 2021. Council continues to work through the statutory process to transfer the land, which is taking longer than anticipated.
Council also urges any members of the public planning to travel across to the island while harvesting is taking place to stay clear of all machinery and harvest sites, and to follow the directions of the forestry contractor crews.
Harvesting will continue through October and November 2023. Council, the hapū and boat operators are continuing to work through the design for the wharf as harvesting continues.