The wild and scenic Mokihinui River is to be added to Kahurangi National Park. The Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage announced yesterday that 64,400 hectares of conservation land in the Mokihinui River catchment on the West Coast north of Westport, including 15 km of riverbed, is being added to Kahurangi National Park. This will protect the river and surrounding landscape and wildlife for future generations. Against the submissions of kayakers and conservation groups Meridian was granted resource consent for an 80m hydro dam that would have drowned the entire lower Mokihinui section. After protests and appeals to the Environment Court, Meridian shelved the dam proposal citing economics. The whitewater from Mokihinui forks down is an entertaining class III-IV run, while the upper section from Johnson-Allan confluence is a challenging, remote run. Both sections are accessed by helicopter; DOC Western South Island Director of Operations Mark Davies advises existing air access arrangements will continue. A review of the Kahurangi National Park Management Plan to account for the land addition will unfold over the next few years and will provide kayakers an opportunity to ensure continued access to this treasured river.
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