Summer research projects – Lincoln University

Lincoln University

Three research projects are being carried out by Lincoln University students this summer, gathering information about how people are using three key areas on and around the Port Hills and Banks Peninsula. This work is the first phase of a partnership between the University and Rod Donald Peninsula Trust, launched earlier this year.

The three projects, developed in conjunction with Dr. Stephen Espiner from the Department of Social Science, Parks, Recreation, Tourism and Sport, are  gathering important baseline information that will support the ambitions of the Trust and its partners. The students are examining the existing and potential use of the Summit Walkway tracks from Gebbies Pass to Hilltop; the existing and potential use of Orton Bradley Park, and the relationship between marine protection measures and tourism in Akaroa Harbour. If you are out recreating in these areas over the summer, you may be asked to participate in the survey and make your views count!

Project one: Summit walkway – The Spine of the Lizard
The Department of Conservation and the Rod Donald Banks Peninsula Trust are working in partnership to investigate upgrading and developing a network of tracks that traverses or feeds into the ridgeline from Gebbies Pass and Hilltop. The concept – currently code-named The Spine of the Lizard – is to create a fantastic multi-use track offering introductory tramping and mountain-biking opportunities close to Christchurch. Student Phil Holland is being supervised by Lincoln lecturer Emma Stewart as he carries out surveys on these, and feeder tracks.

Project two: current and potential of Orton Bradley Park
Ian Luxford of Orton Bradley Park is the ‘on-the-scene’ supervisor of Lincoln student Scotty Moore as he conducts a survey of current park users, with Stephen Espiner involved at the Lincoln end. Scotty is gathering information such as visitor’s age, where they are from, how they heard about the park, what activities and facilities they are using, and what they think they would like to see in the park; such as a café, mountain biking, historic centre or camping.

Similar surveys are being carried out at three other Christchurch locations (such as Victoria Park, Halswell Quarry, Godley Head or Macleans Island) to find out what users at other similar places know about Orton Bradley Park, and whether they have visited it, to assess its potential to appeal to a wider group of users, and also what they think about the Summit Walkway tracks which can be accessed from Orton Bradley Park. This information will be used to help guide any future decisions about the potential development of Orton Bradley.

Project three: Tourism and marine protection: Akaroa
Nature cruises and marine eco-tourism are primary attractions of Akaroa, one of Canterbury’s most popular tourism destinations, and more recently it’s become a popular port for cruise ships to stop.
Several marine protection measures are in place in the area including a Marine Mammal Sanctuary, Pohatu Marine Reserve on the outer coast and a Taiapure. A new marine reserve within the harbour was approved by the Minister for Conservation in April and concurrence from the Minister for Primary Industries came through just before Christmas. The Trust has granted funding toward the project which is being sponsored by the Akaroa Harbour Marine Protection Society and co-funded by a variety of environmental groups in Akaroa as well as Lincoln University. The project carried out by Lincoln student Jacqueline Rose is looking at the relationships between marine eco-tourism businesses and protection, and the perceptions around benefits to the local economy.

Interviews will be carried out with business owners, local runaka as well as with the visitors taking part in eco-tourism activities to find out their level of understanding and awareness of the marine protection measures in the region, and if it had any influence on their decision to make Akaroa a destination.