Protected Natural Areas within the Urban Area

 Number of and extent (hectares) of protected natural areas within the urban area

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Purpose of indicator

A protected natural area is a defined area of land that has legal status protecting indigenous vegetation, habitats, ecosystems or species. In the Rotorua urban area these areas contribute green space and are most commonly geothermal environments. Collectively they contribute to biodiversity. Monitoring their number and extent helps to understand whether there are more areas being protected or whether these areas are being lost over time.

Current information and trend

In 2011 there were 25 protected natural areas (PNA) within the urban area. This is 9 more than were recorded in 2006, however these areas were already formally protected in 2006 but were omitted from the Protected Natural Areas report. This means that no new areas were formally protected within the urban area between 2006 and 2011. Figure 1 shows the PNA within the urban area.

For public land the Reserves Act and Conservation Act are the most commonly used legislation for protection of indigenous vegetation and habitat. Table 1 below shows the number of PNA within the urban area protected under each legislation.


Table 1.  Number of PNA protected under legislation

In total there are 490.7 ha of PNA in the urban area. This is mostly made up of reserves including Sulphur Point Wildlife Reserve, Kuirau Park, Arikikapakapa Golf Course and Whakarewarewa Thermal Reserve. All of these are geothermal environments, which is expected as Rotorua lies over a geothermal aquifer. Mokoia Island is also a large PNA within the ‘urban’ area, despite being in the middle of Lake Rotorua.
Figure 1. 2006-2011 Differences: Urban Protected Natural Areas
Within the urban area there are 26 identified significant natural areas (SNA). SNA are identified as having significant indigenous vegetation or habitat and may or may not already be formally protected. Like PNA, SNA contribute to open space, biodiversity and habitat for indigenous flora and fauna. Formal protection of these areas would help to ensure they are not lost.
The Proposed National Policy Statement on Indigenous Biodiversity aims to halt the loss of areas of indigenous biodiversity that have been identified as significant natural areas. Should the proposed policy statement become operative as currently drafted more SNA are likely to be formally protected.

In Summary

  • In 2011 there were 25 protected natural areas within the urban area, with a total area of 490.7 ha
  • The most common protection mechanisms for PNA within the urban area are the Reserves Act
  • 1977 and Conservation Act 1987
  • There are 26 significant natural areas within the urban area

Further information sources

Protected Natural Areas in the Rotorua District Report 2011

Wikipedia on Protected Natural Areas Programme on the Proposed National Policy Statement on Indigenous Biodiversity

Page reviewed: 18 Dec 2013 4:09pm