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Protecting New Zealand’s Indigenous Forest

An initiative by well known conservationist, Kevin Prime MBE, has led to New Zealand’s leading forestry company, Carter Holt Harvey, selling 70ha of indigenous forest, in the mid-North, to the Department of Conservation.

“Carter Holt Harvey strongly supports the protection of indigenous flora and fauna. Kevin, the Environmental Co-ordinator for Te Runanga o Ngatihine, who works with the Department of Conservation, approached us about selling the land so it could continue to be protected and managed as part of a larger block,” said Devon McLean, Carter Holt Harvey’s Chief Operating Officer.

“Landcare’s recent predator control and monitoring of the local area has indicated a significant improvement in the health of the forest combined with increased numbers of birds, including kiwi and in particular, kukupa (native pigeon).

“Following Kevin’s suggestion Carter Holt Harvey agreed that it made sense to include the block within the larger area that is being managed by Te Runanga.”

The 70ha block was previously part of Carter Holt Harvey’s Stoney Creek/Donaldson Forest which is contiguous to Motatau Forest managed by Te Runanga o Ngatihine.

“Part of our strategy for increasing the habitat for the kukupa was to acquire much of the privately owned indigenous forests in this area,” said Mr Prime

“Te Runanga o Ngatihine applied for funding to purchase surrounding Forests off Lloydd Roberts, Alan Wilde and Paul Clark. Carter Holt Harvey, in their generosity, and joining in the spirit of the Ngatihine kaupapa recognised this commitment to conservation and environmental sustainability and in turn gifted their 70ha block for a token sum.”

A hand over ceremony was held the Waimahae Marae on Monday 18 March.

Background

- Since 1996 Ngati Hine, Manaaki Whenua - Landcare Research, and the Department of Conservation have jointly undertaken an intensive program of pest management and research aimed at understanding and remedying the causes of kukupa (native pigeon) decline in Motatau Forest.

- The program has successfully reduced pest numbers to low levels and initiated a recovery in kukupa numbers.

- The 70ha block owned by Carter Holt Harvey is part of land that was farmed for sheep and beef until its purchase by New Zealand Forest Products around 1982.

- The Stoney Creek/Donaldson Block land was established in Pinus radiata in 1984 through to 1988.

- The 70ha block is one of two areas of indigenous forest left within the Stoney Creek/Donaldson Block that was not cleared when the original farm was established.

- The block is located next to the Motatau Forest, a Department of Conservation reserve of high ecological value of National importance.


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