Investment in New Great Walk at Paparoa off to Flying Start
Friday 12 October 2018
Air New Zealand Investment in Conservation for New Great Walk at Paparoa off to Flying Start
Air New Zealand and The Department of Conservation (DOC) have further strengthened their partnership and commitment to New Zealand’s biodiversity with the funding of a four year, $400,000 project on the Paparoa Track, the site of the newest Great Walk, due to open in late September 2019.
DOC and Air New Zealand have been in partnership since 2012, providing support for DOC’s Great Walks, marine science and threatened species. In October 2017, both parties agreed to extend the partnership to 2022.
“Air New Zealand has been helping DOC and other conservation groups restore our native species alongside Great Walks since 2012; its decision to support the Paparoa Great Walk experience is exciting for DOC; it complements the efforts of Ngāti Waewae, the Paparoa Wildlife Trust and many other groups and individuals who are passionate about the Great Walk and the nature that surrounds it. Through contributions such as this, Air New Zealand is making a real difference”, says Lou Sanson, Director General DOC.
The biodiversity project will enable the purchasing of 800 double set traps with installation of 80km of new trap lines over four years, an increase in goat control and an increase in monitoring – DOC runs a large national monitoring programme that collects information on species presence/absence at selected locations, every five years. However, due to its rugged terrain and harsh coastal weather climate, the western side of the Paparoa Range has not been intensively surveyed for the past 20 years. Consequently, there are knowledge gaps of the current distribution of key species like the roroa (great spotted kiwi) and whio, lizards, weta and giant land snail.
It is hoped that the project will assist the reintroduction and establishment of whio into the area while increasing the knowledge of the biodiversity in the Paparoa Range.
Air New Zealand Chief Executive Officer Christopher Luxon says, “As a key partner of DOC the airline is pleased to be able to support its conservation work on the new Paparoa Track Great Walk and be part of the efforts which will help the country’s ambitious goal to be predator free by 2050 a reality.
“We are delighted to welcome another jewel in the crown of the nation’s Great Walks network and look forward to sharing this special part of the South Island’s beautiful West Coast and the richness of our native species with even more visitors well into the future.”
Background on the Paparoa Great Walk
Scheduled to open in late September 2019, the 55km Paparoa Great Walk, which is also the first Great Walk built for both mountain bikers and walkers is expected to draw thousands of international and New Zealand visitors per annum and support the West Coast regional community. The formation of this new track will provide access into remote backcountry areas, creating a unique opportunity to increase the protection and management of biodiversity surrounding the track.
Paparoa National Park is recognised nationally as a biodiversity hotspot, containing a large diversity of ecosystems and species. The landscape features many rivers and lush subtropical rainforest, which transitions into alpine scrub and grassland at higher altitudes. The climate, micro-climates and dramatic range in altitudes, have formed a diverse range in plant species. The major vegetation type although not unique, varies greatly within relatively small areas, and is intact from the coastline to alpine zone.