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Tawharanui Reopens This Week

Auckland Regional Council
Media Release

Tawharanui reopens this week

20 December 2004

Visitors are being asked to do their bit to keep predators out of Tawharanui Regional Park which reopens today following a major pest eradication programme.

ARC Parks and Heritage Committee Deputy Chair Christine Rose says the pest eradication programme has been a huge success so far and will be the foundation for creating the Tawharanui Open Sanctuary as a haven for native species.

"Visitors have a crucial role to play to ensure we build successfully on this foundation," Cr Rose says.

Visitors arriving at the park will now have to pass through a two metre high automatic gate, which is part of the 2.5km predator-proof fence, designed to keep predators out of the park. "The fence will only do its job if visitors do theirs and ensure that there are no rats or mice hiding in their vehicles or any of their gear coming into the park."

Cr Rose says new signage at the park will alert visitors to the fact that animal pests are unwelcome and there will be staff and volunteers on hand over the Christmas period to provide additional information about the open sanctuary. A total ban on dogs at the park will be strictly enforced for the protection of wildlife.

Visitors are also asked to report sightings of any rats, mice, cats, mustelids (stoats, ferrets and weasels) or hedgehogs to the duty ranger.

Pest control on the park will continue with bait stations and traps set throughout the park and in a buffer zone outside the fence. Tracking tunnels will also indicate whether or not there are any animal pests present.

"So far our tracking tunnels are giving us nothing but good news," Cr Rose says. "There is no evidence of any animal predators inside the fence and there is evidence of insects and lizards being more visible due to the lack of predators."

Cr Rose says if this trend continues the ARC will be able to look at reintroducing native bird and reptile species to the Tawharanui Open Sanctuary within the next year.

Cr Rose is crediting the work the Tawharanui Open Sanctuary Society Inc. (TOSSI) for much of the projects success to date.

"The efforts of the local Rodney Community and others through TOSSI has been fantastic, both in fundraising for the predator-proof fence and also in the pest eradication programme and other volunteer work.

"The Tawharanui Open Sanctuary is a true partnership project. It shows what is possible when Councils and communities work in together."

Tawharanui Regional Park receives approximately 120,000 visitors per year and is one of 21 regional parks managed by the ARC. It is particularly popular for camping, picnicking, surfing, mountain biking and walking. In Anchor Bay it has one of the most picturesque beaches in the Auckland region.

To get to Tawharanui take Sate Highway 1 to Warkworth and follow the signs from there through Matakana to Takatu Rd which leads to the park itself.

ENDS


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