This web site can be the beginning of a community action plan that will seek to shift the community from the back foot to the front. It can be about identifying places on the island that are under threat and then organising the community to develop plans that are appropriate.

For example, from 2003-2006, about 1/3 the adult population joined the Community and People of Waiheke Island to oppose the Private Plan Change of WIL. They succeeded in reducing the proposed coverage from 30,000 M2 gross dwelling area to 10,000 m2 GDA, but the land still can be badly developed if the Council decided to sell or lease the land.

About ten years later, a marina was proposed for Matiatia. It was a private initiative that neither owned the water or the adjacent land, but it burned through millions of dollars in legal and expert fees before the judge ruled against it. It divided the island with pro and anti-marina people fighting each other and raising huge amounts of money to preserve the status quo.

Doesn't it make more sense, that instead, before a threat arises, the Waiheke community to set out a framework for planning, then put together a plan and financing and implement that plan so that the community visualises and implements the sort of growth it wishes to see?

In this photo, we have a good example of forward thinking. Don Chappell wanted to turn an eroded, steep, sheep paddock into a restored native bush. He convinced the owner and other key influencers to let him do it. He built small huts and water tanks, put in trails to walk and then got to work planting. Others pitched in. It took years of hard work, but today it is wonderful. It is there, and it is no longer a hot spot.

Don Chappell who transformed the Matiatia hills into native bushPhoto: Don Chappell in the reserve he planted on the hills above the Matiatia ferry