Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search

 


Cliff scramble gives critically rare plant shot at survival

26 February 2013

Cliff scramble gives critically rare plant a shot at survival

Conservationists boost national population by a third in a single day

Conservationists have boosted by a third the number of endangered Kakabeak plants known to exist in the wild in New Zealand. Staff at the Forest Lifeforce Restoration (FLR) Trust used a helicopter and abseiled down cliffs to dig 35 of the plants with the spectacular curved, crimson flowers into bluffs in the Te Urewera National Park, overlooking the Maungataniwha Native Forest in inland Hawke’s Bay.

Until now, just 110 Kakabeak (ngutukākā in te reo) plants were known to exist in the wild. Five of those are on the Waiau Bluffs where they have been joined by the 35 transplants, protected from predatory browsers by sheer rock faces and fences erected by the Trust.

“This is probably one of the more dramatic replants at a wild site attempted for the species,” said Don McLean, head of the Kakabeak Recovery Team at the Department of Conservation (DOC). “New methods of establishing Kakabeak in the wild are vital if we’re to successfully place the plants beyond the reach of browsers. The ultimate long-term aim is really to get plants established on sites where they can mature and reproduce in relative safety.”

The 35 plants were propagated at Plant Hawke’s Bay Nursery in Napier from cuttings and seed taken by the Trust, under Department of Conservation (DOC) supervision, from a selection of wild Kakabeak across the region.

They were grown to about 300mm in height before being given a ‘haircut’ to promote root growth, then flown to the transplant site where they were lowered in fish bins with a long strop to Trust staff who had abseiled to a scree slope about 150 metres above the Waiau Gorge.

“It was pretty precarious mission,” said FLR Trust forest manager Pete Shaw. “The chopper was being buffeted by strong winds and we were inching along this scree above some fairly significant drops, digging holes to put the plants into.”

The Kakabeak were planted in three lots about 20 metres apart, in a varied genetic mix.

“We know it’s a good place for them,” Shaw said. “They’re in with the five original plants and the terrain, along with the new fences we’ve installed, will ensure they’re not picked off by predatory browsers like deer.”

He hopes there will be further natural regeneration outside the protected area when the new plants seed in October this year.

The FLR Trust has already established two Kakabeak seed orchards in protected enclosures at its property in the Maungataniwha Native Forest. Shaw hopes the rejuvenated population on the Waiau Bluffs will provide a third source of seed for further propagation and transplantation.

Trust staff are in the process of perfecting a groundbreaking technique to propagate the plants by blasting seeds from a shotgun into likely nursery sites in the wild.

Staffer Barry Crene developed the technique using re-loaded shotgun shells packed with regular shotgun pellets, a pulp medium and Kakabeak seed. The shells were then discharged into soil from a range of 20 metres, about the distance a helicopter might have to hover from likely nursery sites in the wild.

As with the Waiau Bluffs, such sites are frequently patches of topsoil on bluffs or cliff faces that are as inaccessible to humans as they are to browsers. Helicopters are often the only way to reach them.

This innovation will create the potential for an aerial propagation effort on a scale that hasn’t yet been possible.

“Anything that helps us expand the population of this spectacular plant without having to dangle 150 metres above a rocky river bed has to be a good thing,” Shaw said.

About the Forest Lifeforce Restoration Trust

The Forest Lifeforce Restoration Trust was established in 2006 to provide direction and funding for the restoration of threatened species of fauna and flora, and to restore the ngahere mauri (forest lifeforce) in native forests within the Central North Island owned by businessman Simon Hall, executive Chairman of food manufacturer Tasti Foods and the driving force behind the Trust.

It runs eight main regeneration and restoration projects, involving native New Zealand flora and fauna, on three properties in the central North Island. It also owns a property in the South Island’s Fiordland National Park.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gaza.Scoop: Another Israeli Attack On A Hospital

Israeli tanks attacked Al Aqsa hospital in Deir Al Balah, killing five patients and doctors, and injuring more than 70.

The third and fourth floors, housing the emergency department, orthopaedic department, surgical department, and the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) were destroyed. Operating theatres had to cease work because of the lack of oxygen.

Patients are being evacuated to Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, and the European Gaza Hospital between Rafah and Khan Younes. More>>

 

Parliament Today:

Red Tape: Local Regulations Go Under Microscope

The Government says it is accepting nearly all of the recommendations the Productivity Commission has made on ways to improve local regulations. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Non-Apology To Tania Billingsley

The refusal by Prime Minister John Key to issue a personal apology to Tania Billingsley has been accompanied by an array of excuses... Yesterday though, Key’s choice of words indicated that an apology was the last thing on his mind. More>>

ALSO:

Conventions: Winston Peters On The Nation

Winston Peters opens door to standing in East Coast Bays electorate, says it's an "exciting point" and he's thinking about it. "I’ve had a whole lot of people writing to me and calling up and saying ‘why don’t you have a go in East Coast Bays’." More>>

ALSO:

Waitangi Tribunal: Report On The MV Rena

In its interim report, the Waitangi Tribunal has found that the Crown’s conduct in response to the grounding of the MV Rena on Otaiti (Astrolabe) reef breached the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi. More>>

ALSO:

Gaza: Wellington Protest For Palestine Calls For End To Bombing

Around 300 people gathered outside the Israeli Embassy in Wellington on Friday to protest Israel’s occupation of Palestine. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Failure To Prosecute The GCSB

So one hand of the state – the Independent Police Conduct Authority – has now washed the hands of its brother agencies, and declared that all hands are clean. Case closed. More>>

ALSO:

Illegal Search: Police Behaviour 'Reminiscent Of Tūhoe Raids'

"Māori will lose further trust and confidence in the New Zealand Police and the Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA) if the recent incident in Stratford is not adequately addressed. This behaviour would not occur in Epsom or Khandallah so why should police think that such behaviour was acceptable in Stratford," says Chris McKenzie. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell:
On The Dotcom Emails

The Dotcom residency decision fails any number of sniff tests... Why, then, was it approved? Here we get into the realm of the “INZ being under political pressure” to approve Dotcom’s application. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Shonky Police Statistics, And The Israeli Air Strikes On Gaza

When people systematically alter how being statistics are recorded in order to gain personal and organisational advantage, that’s usually when the Police get called in. Yet in the case of the burglary statistics in Counties-Manakau, it was the Police doing the fudging and – at the time – it was then-Police Minister Judith Collins claiming the credit... More>>

ALSO:

'Clean Rivers': Green Party Launches Key Election Priority

The Green Party will make a series of announcements over the course of the election campaign in which it will outline the specifics of how it will clean up our rivers and protect our beaches. In the first of these announcements the party launched its plan for clean rivers. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
Regional
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news