The review of the management plan for Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park is underway again, after it was put on hold following a Supreme Court decision.
The Department of Conservation (DOC) and Ngāi Tahu in consultation with the Canterbury Aoraki Conservation Board have agreed to start a new review plan.
The process for reviewing both the Aoraki/Mount Cook and the Westland Tai Poutini plans was put on hold while DOC and Ngāi Tahu worked through the wider implications of the Supreme Court's decision on the Ngāi Tai ki Tamaki case.
DOC is required under Section 4 of the Conservation Act 1987 to give effect to the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi.
"We will continue to work closely with our Treaty partner throughout the review process," DOC's director planning, permissions and land Natasha Hayward said.
"This plan guides the long-term management of the Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park. This includes managing activities and uses of the park to ensure its values are protected. It's important we get it right."
There have been some significant changes in Aoraki including severe weather events and last year the national park had more than a million visitors.
The next step in the review process for Aoraki/Mount Cook will be to produce a new draft for consultation. Issues raised through submissions and work completed on the draft plan prior to it being put on hold will contribute to the development of the new draft plan.
Restarting the review process will make sure the new context is properly considered, but we won't be starting from scratch, Hayward said.
"We acknowledge the Covid-19 lockdown has been challenging and may have had some significant impacts on the lives and livelihoods of people who have an interest in the review. This is something we will be taking into consideration as we move into the consultation process."
She said no decisions had been made on what is in or out of the plan.
"We are resuming consultation now and will continue to seek public feedback on how we should manage the park in the future."
Until now the Westland Tai Poutini and Aoraki/Mount Cook plans have been reviewed concurrently.
However, more time is needed before the plan review for Westland Tai Poutini National Park recommences. However, aspects of management across the two parks will stay aligned where appropriate, she said.
National Park Management Plans are the statutory documents that set out how to manage individual national parks to ensure their natural, cultural, heritage and recreational values are protected (as set out in the National Parks Act 1980).