Protect the Peak Campaign

*** UPDATE ***

Submissions on the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council’s Three Year Plan have now closed. Thank you to everyone who supported our Protect the Peak campaign by making a submission, sharing our social media, or discussing the topic with friends.

What happens next?

  • 29 and 30 May – public hearings
  • 18 June – council deliberation
  • 26 June – adoption of the Three Year Plan


Te Matau-a-Māui, we need your support. The HBRC has opened submissions on its Three-Year Plan (2024 – 2027) which proposes to cut its current funding of $120,000 per year to Te Mata Park Trust. This funding equates to a cost of about 65 cents per Hawke’s Bay resident each year. The loss of this funding would have very real consequences, including the possibility that health and safety issues, brought about by under-funded maintenance, could lead to Park closures.

We are asking our community to please make a submission in support of retaining Te Mata Park’s HBRC funding. Submissions close 15 May 2024. On this page you’ll find some background on how the Park is funded, what could happen if we lose this funding, links to read the HBRC’s consultation document, and information to help you make a submission.

Photo credit: Simon Cartwright Photography

How we are funded and the impact of no HBRC funding

Te Mata Park Trust receives funding via three main avenues. We receive about $120,000 a year each from Hastings District Council and the HBRC, which is about two thirds of our annual operating budget. The majority of the HBRC contribution goes to funding our two wonderful maintenance contractors – Alex and Alex – for half a week each (one full time equivalent – 1FTE). Alex and Alex are passionate about looking after the Park, and ensuring it is safe and accessible for everyone.

The remaining third of our funding comes in through successful grant funding applications, fundraising initiatives, and generous donations from our community.

We are a lean operation, and proud of our collaborative funding model and the great working relationships we have built with both councils and our key stakeholders. Working together as a community is the best model for parks and spaces such as ours, and we are pleased to be setting such a great example of how this can be achieved.

Cutting a third of our operating budget could put Te Mata Park Trust in an untenable position; fail to protect the region’s most important recreational, historical and cultural taonga, and undermine all the investment and volunteer time that has gone into the Park in recent years.

We need more, not less

The reality is that we need more funding, not less. We have seen huge growth in the number of people who visit and enjoy the Park over recent years, which is fantastic, however, more usage means more maintenance is required. We recently made a plea to HBRC to increase our funding to $240,000 a year. This would cover the cost of two full-time maintenance contractors to care for the 107.5 hectare Park.

HBRC funding for one full time contractor, or ideally two, brings exponential value to the Park and the people who use it. With well over one million visitors per year, the Park is a place for community, recreation, positive mental wellbeing, education and so much more. Gifted to the people of Hawke’s Bay in 1927, the Park is a historical and cultural taonga for everyone to enjoy and share.

The hundreds of volunteers who work alongside the maintenance contractors give thousands of volunteer hours each year, in the form of planting, weed releasing, fencing, predator control, and more. In the last year alone, the amazing Te Mata Park community have given over 6000 hours of volunteer work to the Park.

How you can influence HBRC’s decision

We know that times are tough, and budgets are stretched, but if you believe that the Park should continue to be part-funded by HBRC, please have your say and make a submission by the 15th of May 2024 when submissions close. With the community’s support we hope to influence HBRC to continue to fund Te Mata Park Trust and ensure the park is protected and enhanced for future generations.

How to make a submission (have your say)

You can make a submission in four easy ways and we have prepared some text to assist you, which can be found here. Ways to have your say:

  1. Online – go to the submission form. You don’t have to answer all the questions, the section relating to Te Mata Park is on p3
  2. Email – email your submission
  3. Post – post your submission to Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, Private Bag 6006, Napier 4142
  4. Hand deliver – 159 Dalton St, Napier; 26 Ruataniwha St, Waipawa; or 46 Freyberg St, Wairoa, or at one of the drop-in sessions

If emailing, posting, or hand delivering your submission, please ensure you include your first and last names.

Thank you for taking the time to consider making a submission and protecting Te Mata Park – we value your support.

To assist you with your submission

Below are some ideas / comments that you may want to include in your submission. Your submission can be as long or as short as you like, please just remember to include your first and last names as otherwise your submission will not be valid. 

  • Te Mata Park is a taonga – it is the most loved and visited place in Te Matau-a-Māui Hawke’s Bay. Please continue to fund Te Mata Park Trust at the current funding level of $120,000. I am happy for my rates to increase by a tiny 0.5% to ensure the Park is funded. 
  • Please continue to fund Te Mata Park Trust at the current level (Option B). $120,000 annually is the equivalent of 65 cents per Hawke’s Bay resident per year to maintain this amazing Park – minimal when you look at all the Park has to offer. I am happy for my rates to increase by this miniscule amount to ensure the Park is protected in perpetuity.  
  • Te Mata Park is more than a Park, it is a taonga, a place to escape, a place of recreation and a place to be. It is also central to the history of the region, our cultural history, and the geological history of the region. Please continue to fund the Park at the current level so we can all continue to enjoy the space. I would be happy for my rates to increase by this tiny amount, to ensure HBRC continues to fund this treasure.  
  • Thank you for the opportunity to submit on your Long-Term Plan. Please continue to fund the Park, at least at the current level of $120,000 per year. Te Mata Park is a key part of the curriculum for the many local schools and educational facilities that visit the Park every week. Whether it is planting trees, learning about the history, the geology, our culture, volunteering, or learning more about who we are in the world. I would be prepared to pay the minor increase of 0.5% in HBRC rates to ensure Te Mata Park is available for our community. 
  • Te Mata Park is the single most significant landscape icon in Hawke’s Bay, having district, regional and national significance. It is the most prominent landmark in the eastern Heretaunga Plains with a distinctive silhouette skyline. It is a source of identity for Hawke’s Bay residents and Ngāti Kahungunu. Please choose Option B and continue to fund Te Mata Park Trust at the current level of $120,000. 
  • Please continue to fund Te Mata Park, either at the current level, or ideally fund two maintenance caretakers. Te Mata Park is important to me because……. 
  • Thank you for the opportunity to submit on the HBRC Long Term Plan. While I appreciate times are tough, and cuts need to be made, I don’t believe cutting funding for Te Mata Park Trust is the way to go. Te Mata Park is a regional and national treasure that needs to be protected and maintained for future generations to enjoy. Could funding cuts be made elsewhere, such as ……. 

Thank you

Thank you for taking the time to consider making a submission and supporting Te Mata Park. Please follow us on Facebook to stay up to date with our campaign to Protect the Peak – and please feel free to like, share, and comment on our posts to help spread the word.

If you have any questions, please contact the Te Mata Park Manager Sarah Austin-Smith.

Kia hora te marino, Kia whakapapa pounamu te moana, kia tere te Kārohirohi i mua i tōu huarahi.

May the calm be widespread, may the ocean glisten as greenstone, may the shimmer of light ever dance across your pathway.