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Tawharanui To Reopen Before Christmas

Auckland Regional Council
Media Release

Tawharanui to reopen before Christmas

1 December 2004

Tawharanui Regional Park will reopen before Christmas following a major pest eradication programme.

The park, on a spectacular 588-hectare peninsula north east of Warkworth, will be open to the public from Monday 20 December. The pest eradication programme is part of a long-term project to create the Tawharanui Open Sanctuary, a pest free haven for native species.

It was originally hoped that the park would reopen this week but the ARC's Parks and Heritage Committee today decided to revise the date.

Committee Deputy Chair and Rodney representative on the ARC, Christine Rose, says bad weather during the pest eradication programme caused a delay in aerial drops of Pestoff bait.

"We need to wait until December 20 to open the park to ensure that all the bait has broken down," Cr Rose says.

The pest eradication programme involves hundreds of bait stations and traps on the ground to complement the aerial drops, which aimed to eliminate rats and mice from the park.

Cr Rose says despite the slight weather delays the eradication programme appears to be having the desired effect.

"Tracking tunnels have revealed no evidence of any rats or mice inside the park's predator-proof fence since the second aerial poison drop," she says.

"But absence of evidence is not evidence of absence and it will be some time before we can say with assurance that Tawharanui is predator free."

ARC natural heritage scientists estimate that the overall success of the pest eradication effort will be clear in approximately six to eight months.

Endangered native species will be released into the Open Sanctuary only when ARC staff are sure it is predator free. Some lizard species and birds such as saddlebacks or brown teal are likely to be amongst the first species released, although the long-term vision is to have kiwi and tuatara in the sanctuary.

Cr Rose says the ARC regrets the inconvenience to any would-be visitors to Tawharanui Regional Park during the first few weeks of December.

"The public have been very co-operative over the past few months. We are very grateful for that and can assure them that they will be able to enjoy all the park has to offer over the summer from December 20."

Cr Rose says visitors have a role to play in helping the pest eradication programme.

"It is important that visitors check their vehicles, camping gear or other likely hiding places for rats and mice to ensure they do not inadvertently bring pests back into the park," she says.

ENDS

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