The J. M. Barker Reserve contains one of the few remaining concentrations of kopi forest with Moriori tree carvings/Raukau Momori on the Chatham Islands. The carvings remain as significant evidence of Moriori taonga and are of emotional and spiritual significance to Moriori. The cultural, historic and spiritual significance of this reserve is, therefore, very high.
The Department recognises the role iwi Moriori have as kaitiaki, namely the spiritual guardians of these sacred taonga (iwi Moriori includes all people of Moriori decent).
The reserve is administered under the Reserves Act 1977, currently by the Department of Conservation. Historic reserves are an important part of the reserves system. They exist to protect and preserve in perpetuity places, objects and natural features or other things which are of historic, archaeological, cultural, educational or other special interest (Section 18, Reserves Act 1977).
To assist in this legislative responsibility, this management plan has been prepared. It contains a description and assessment of the reserve, sets out objectives and policies, and identifies how these are to be implemented. It has been prepared in accordance with the procedures set out under Section 40B of the Reserves Act 1977 and Section 17G Conservation Act 1987.