Healthy Families Waitakere are taking a position to support the recent Rāhui (customary ban) placed on the Waitakere Ranges by local iwi and are working with local leaders to create alternative opportunities to be physically active.
The proposed closure by Te Kawerau a Maki and Auckland Council will protect Auckland’s largest Kauri tree population and native bush by excluding the public who have been contributing to the spread of Kauri dieback disease.
The Waitākere Ranges is an area of national, regional and local significance. Over 1 million visitors annually walk, bike, run and take part in events in the Ranges. Healthy Families Waitakere are taking action to support those who would usually access the Ranges to keep active and identify alternative physical activity opportunities for the large number of visitors to West Auckland.
Healthy Families Waitakere are bringing community leaders together to find ways to leverage existing community assets and infrastructure such as the 135 parks and reserves, 36 sports fields and the network of walkways and cycle ways.
The team will also work with regional and local partners to prioritise investment in urban tracks, walkways and coastal routes and raise public awareness about the alternative physical activity options.
Auckland councillor Penny Hulse is keen to ensure Auckland Council fully support the work of Healthy Families Waitakere which will ensure ongoing use of the existing urban tracks and walkways.
Healthy Families Waitakere Manager Kerry Allan says being physically active has significant benefits to people’s health and wellbeing and connecting with our natural environment is important for our future generations.
“By working with local and regional partners, we can collectively ensure our community still participate in regular physical activities that they enjoy.”