Crawford, S., & Fountain, J. (2010). Tourism and recreation around the Avon-Heathcote Estuary/Ihutai: Current usage, awareness and perceptions of tourism and recreational opportunities. Lincoln University.
This report was prepared for Environment Canterbury (ECan), the Avon-Heathcote Estuary Ihutai Trust, and the Tertiary Education Commission as part of Lincoln University’s 2009-2010 summer scholarship programme. The purpose of this research was to assess the current usage, awareness, and perceptions of tourism and recreational opportunities of Te Ihutai estuary of visitors and Ōtautahi Christchurch residents. To achieve this, two surveys types were completed during the 2009-2010 summer. The first was a series of face-to-face surveys of 140 visitors to 12 locations across the estuary, regarding the purpose of their visit, habits regarding the estuary, and their opinions on the estuary. The second was a series of telephone surveys asking people’s opinions regarding the estuary.
Overall, most estuary users visited frequently, either daily (39.1%) or weekly (23.1%). Most visited with the purpose of exercising, walking dogs, or entertaining children. 63.1% of estuary users had heard news about the estuary in the last 12 months, compared to 18.4 of non-visitors, and the most common news recalled was about the outfall pipe. Most estuary users also held strong opinions regarding the value of the estuary. Almost all agreed that it was a great recreation resource, and over three quarters viewed it as a wetland of international significance. However, a majority also believed that the water was polluted, and that action was needed to improve the water quality, maintain the tracks, and remove sea lettuce. The report concluded that the development of an outfall pipe was unlikely to change the recreational patterns of people in the estuary.