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Survey shows harbour recreation opportunities revered

Thursday, 3 February 2011 2:10 p.m.

A comprehensive survey of recreation users of Tauranga Harbour has shown people place a high value on recreation opportunities within the harbour.

More than 240 intercept surveys were carried out from 1 January to 3 January 2011. University recreation students were stationed at popular spots around Tauranga Harbour carrying out the surveys with a range of harbour users.

The survey is one of the actions from the Tauranga Harbour Recreation Strategy that was prepared in partnership with Tauranga City Council and Western Bay of Plenty District Council in 2008 to manage recreational use of Tauranga Moana.

Bay of Plenty Regional Council Group Manager Water Management Eddie Grogan said the survey would help the councils better understand who is using the harbour, where they come from, what their perceptions are, and what their needs are for their recreation experiences at Tauranga Harbour.

"The data collected exceeded the survey's minimum statistical sample size and provided excellent feedback and interesting information regarding current use patterns and recreation values."

"Overall the public were responsive to the request to be interviewed and very few people declined to be surveyed," said Mr Grogan. "The harbour is used for a wide variety of recreational interests, from boating and swimming to kayaking and shellfish gathering."

Information from some repeat visitors in the 50 years and over age bracket was extremely interesting and valuable, particularly their comparison with the recreational amenity today.

Others valued Tauranga Harbour as "not just a place to recreate but part of our everyday lifestyle" which illustrated the importance of the harbour to many local people.

A common quote associated with the harbour beaches was, "The beach is part of who we are; generation after generation; we have come here on holiday", and, "We want the beach to stay part of the natural environment and left as a place to get away from everyday life - to relax and recreate throughout the summer periods."

Many people expressed the point of view that while it is good to have facilities on or near the beach, at the end of the day they only come for the beach and its surroundings.

The main 'on the water' concerns for people were issues around harbour health and access to the harbour but very few identified conflict on the water or loss of recreation opportunity.

There were some comments around skipper behaviour on the water where the five knot rule was not being followed and comments linked to inexperienced or poor skippering of powered craft.

The findings provide baseline data that will assist future recreation decision-making of the partner councils of the Tauranga Harbour Strategy.

Ends

For further media information please contact Bay of Plenty Regional Council Communications Advisor, Alexandra Grenfell on 0800 884 880 ext 9156 or call 0211 909 151.

Tauranga Harbour Survey 2011 lowres