Wednesday, October 6, 2010
a perpetual notion
I've often thought that the commitment to taking a stand for nature must be about the most noble thing you can do. This is because not only are you providing a voice for something which cannot speak for itself but, unlike human assistance, there is no prospect of it ever having a voice...so the commitment is perpetual. Whether or not that viewpoint sticks with the mainstream is besides the point I guess, but it makes sense in my head.
It did strike me as being of particular consequence these past two days. Clocking 12 hours in the council file room damn near drove me bananas, so I was very glad to be out on the road, enjoying the supreme Far North weather and chatting to actual people instead of mumbling discontentedly at chaotic files. I visited four large sites, subdivisions of coastal land which would appear to be the development style of choice in these parts.
The one thing they all had in common were assets of public significance wholly contained on the site. All had sites of Maori significance, 3 removed part of public access to coastline, 3 had significant tracts of endangered species habitat (kiwi mainly) and one in particular had some seriously critical sites of early European occupation on them.
In the case of some of the sites, it would seem a shame that they had ever been let to fall in the hands of private owners anyway. Some had been demonstrably degraded as a result (at least historically) and I guess we'll never know what had been lost in the intervening decades. Overall though, I was pleased to see that, without exception, the identified sites were beautifully maintained and clearly appreciated by their current owners. Probably, it's fair to say, to a higher stand than many in Crown ownership.
So I am hesitant to openly lament their private ownership status, but one does worry over intergenerational timescales what will become of them. Land ownership will inevitably change, if not over years, then certainly over decades. Covenants and titles are perpetual in effect, but is the will and the enthusiasm of the owners named on them? I suppose my grandchildren will find out....
Musings aside, I've loved my few hectic days in the Far North....whizzing around in the windom....and tomorrow I trudge a little further south to the town of my birth, Whangarei (which may well struggle to match the beauty of the Bay of Islands) and continue this marathon research effort which is only just warming up....