Milford Opportunities Project Newsletter October 2023

Kia ora and welcome to the October Milford opportunities Newsletter.

Early this month the Milford Opportunities Unit spent time in Te Anau as a team to meet with Board members, check in on how we are embedding Ngāi Tahu values into our work and plan the detail of our work programme over the coming months. How we engage our stakeholders and wider New Zealand is strong component in this.

Over the last nine months, the focus of the Engagement & Communications workstream has been to reach out to all those connected to Milford Sound Piopiotahi, whether they live, work, gather kai or recreate in the area, or value this special place from afar. We have sought to ensure this work is informed by the experience and wisdom of mana whenua, the community, interest groups, experts, tourism operators and users of the National Park and the Milford Highway. In total this amounts to 128.5 hours of engagement to date.

Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to feed in so far.

We now have some work to do to build on what we’ve heard and the connections we’ve made as we shift from information gathering to options development based around the vision, goals and recommendations of the Milford Opportunities Masterplan. The intent is to provide space for richer, two-way engagement and we’ll be looking at what is possible and sharing more on this, including a timeframe, as the work shapes up over the next six weeks.

Ngā mihi

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

Kia ora from our new Board Chair

Kia ora koutou

Firstly, can I say how honoured I am to be appointed to Chair the Milford Opportunities Ministerial Advisory Board stewarding the project through this next important stage of its work.  I’d also like to acknowledge fellow Board Member Bill Day for doing a fantastic job in the acting Chair role for a number of months prior to my appointment.

Milford Sound, Piopiotahi is such an incredible and special place that has meaning to so many people in New Zealand and beyond.  From the long-held connection of the mana whenua Ngai Tahu, to commercial operators, to recreational users and visitors from across NZ and the globe, it is a place that is special to many and never fails to inspire.

During the winter of 2020 when our NZ borders were closed, I was fortunate enough to be snowed in to Milford Sound for 5 days.  Having the privilege of experiencing the magic of the place through storms, snow and eventually the clearing weather with only 8 other guests, village residents and a few cheeky kea is something that will always stay with me.

It’s my aim, through our work on the Milford Opportunities Project, that we land on a future that supports many more people to experience the very best of Milford Sound and in doing so preserves and enhances not only Milford itself but wider Fiordland for generations to come.

During the next months, the board will be visible about Southland and Otago.  As many of the board and unit live locally in the lower South Island, taking the opportunity to meet and test ideas is important.

I look forward to meeting many of you at some stage to hear your thoughts on the future of Piopiotahi/Milford Sound


Ngā mihi


Jenn Bestwick