8 May 2013

DoC developing protocol for Chathams reserve

6:36 am on 8 May 2013

Department of Conservation staff on Rekohu (the Chatham Islands) are working on a strategy to educate people about the importance of the last remaining kopi trees.

It follows a report by the Hokotehi Moriori Trust alleging a group of people acted disrespectfully in the JM Barker Hapupu National Historic Reserve.

It claims the group drank alcohol, smoked drugs, and made rude gestures towards ancient kopi trees, which are considered sacred.

DoC area manager Jim Clarkson said the department wants to ensure everyone knows how to behave appropriately in the reserve.

He said staff have been developing strategies to extend the life of the remaining carved kopi trees, and part of that involves coming up with protocols for visitors to the reserve.

Mr Clarkson said the department can prosecute anyone who damages the trees.