Milford Opportunities Newsletter

July 2023


Kia ora,
Welcome to our July 2023 newsletter.

The team is pleased to share the latest feedback from our engagement with the community, recreational users, tourism operators and others to test feasibility and implications of the masterplan proposals.

Since the start of the year, 704 people have attended engagement sessions amounting to over 84 hours.

A further 224 people have either dropped into the Milford Opportunities Project Hub in Te Anau or met with a team member.

Thanks to everyone who has taken the time to contribute to this work.

Please continue to share Milford Opportunities Facebook and newsletter details with those who are interested as these are the best ways to stay across what’s happening.

Ngā mihi

Phil Tisch, Fi Roberts & Lizzy Sutcliffe
Milford Opportunities Engagement and Comms Team


Recent engagement

Over the last six weeks we have had engagement sessions with the Piopiotahi Milford Sound community, recreational climbers and Te Anau-based coach drivers.

We have included links to PDF files of the full write-ups for the main engagement sessions.

In June we were invited to contribute to a sustainability presentation by Ranger Taylor Peebles from DOC at the Te Anau visitor centre to a fantastic group of Northern Southland College students on a field trip. We welcome any youth / school group travelling to Te Anau who has an interest in Piopiotahi to get in touch with us to hear about our project.

We also provided an update to the Department of Conservation Te Anau Team on 26 June and our Director Chris Goddard presented to Upper Clutha U3A July Series ​ on ‘The Future of Tourism in the Southern Region’.  Approximately 180 people attended this event and there was high interest in and general support for the vision of the masterplan.



Milford community

On 7 June, we held a session attended by around 17 Milford residents – thanks to all those who ventured out on that crispy cold evening to join this. Those present strongly opposed the option of a single staff accommodation building at Piopiotahi and asserted the need for good separation between staff accommodation and visitors to Piopiotahi. There was support for a communal facility for staff and residents. People asserted they were clear about the area’s natural hazards and accepting of the risks associated with living there. We committed to sharing the Milford Opportunities project Hazards and Risks Review Report (PDF, 48.3MB) undertaken in 2021.

Here is the Piopiotahi Milford Sound community feedback document from June 2023.

Feedback continued…

Recreational climbers

We are often reminded about the majestic recreation opportunities in Fiordland, including the Darran Mountains as being the climbing pinnacle in Aotearoa.   Accessibility and flexibility are therefore important.  New systems under the Masterplan need to support the climbing community as well as other stakeholders.

At this session with the climbing community on 15 June 2023 we heard general support for the ideas that the Masterplan promotes. For example, the park and ride system could have positive impacts on tourist traffic and emissions.  However, there are concerns from some recreation users that some ideas might have unintended consequences.  One example is the placement of a node near the Homer Hut which could compound some issues being experienced during high visitation times.  There is also a concern that the needs of outdoor recreationalists are being overlooked due to the focus on managing tourist traffic. Parking for recreational users at Deepwater Basin is critical.

It was asserted that any permitting system needs to enable climbers to operate in a flexible way and at short notice, and consideration should be given to Australian climbers as they form a considerable portion of the Darran Mountains climbing community.

Read the Recreational climbers feedback June 2023

Zac Orme and Greg Jack climbing in the Darrans. Photo: Sefton Priestley.

Te Anau-based coach drivers

We invited experienced professional Te Anau based bus drivers to an engagement session on 20 June. Key themes raised at the session included:

  • the importance of the project drawing on the experience of drivers,
  • infrastructure needs to fit and be right for the place,
  • agencies need to be joined up,
  • slow the journey down, and
  • access needs to be limited with better visitor management.

View the Te Anau-based coach drivers feedback June 2023.

Milford Road, Darran Mountains by Ernest Buckmaster (image kindly provided by Hannah Gamble via Stephen Martin).

Community drop-in days

Our next community drop in day is 23 August, we ask if anyone wants to drop in that they get in touch with to ensure that one or more of the team is available to discuss and hear feedback on the Masterplan.

Community drop-in days

Transport and infrastructure

The first tranche of Requests for Proposal (RFPs) for assessing the feasibility of the energy, environmental values, and walking and cycling components of the masterplan’s recommendations, closed last week.

A second tranche of RFPs goes out this week looking at engineering feasibility, transport technology, and the transport system assessment and design.

This work will provide vital research into the technical feasibility, costs and work involved for the transport and infrastructure elements proposed in the masterplan and will guide recommended options for Ministers.

Transport and infrastructure

Frequently asked questions

We have a new FAQ document to support engagement and local interest in the project. This is available as a PDF file on the documents and links page of our website.

If you have additional questions about the project, please email

Frequently asked questions