Otago peninsula: integrating conservation and tourism
- Department of Conservation, Dunedin
On the Otago Peninsula and specifically on Taioroa Head the integration of the conservation of species and habitats with domestic and international tourism pressures is a complex matter. There is no easy integration of the divergent uses; and managers whether they be conservation or tourism managers, have to take into account the effects of one upon the other.
Land status is of critical importance in determining the ability to integrate tourism development and conservation requirements. Nature reserve or wildlife sanctuary status requires a high level of protective management. Any possibility of an adverse effect by development must be looked at very closely by the conservation managers. The onus must be on the developers to convince the guardians of the land and the species that there will be no adverse effect by the development or tourist operation. Often total preservation of land and species and tourism operations will not be in any way compatible. The Department of Conservation's role is to be primarily the advocate for conservation and DOC must adapt a protection ethic. Integration of protection and tourism development then becomes a political matter.