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Report on the Kerikeri Ecological District Release

The Department of Conservation has released a report detailing the Kerikeri area's most important natural habitats.

Entitled "Natural Areas of the Kerikeri Ecological District," the report is the fourth to be published so far in a series of documents that aim to identify representative examples of the full range of native biological features throughout Northland.

The Kerikeri Ecological District covers an area of 67,600 ha that extends from Tauranga Bay in the north to Kawakawa, Otiria and Opua in the South and extending inland as far as the eastern boundary of Puketi Forest.

It also includes the offshore islands from Cone Rock (off the entrance to the Whangaroa Harbour) to Cape Wiwiki and the inshore islands of the Northern Bay of Islands and Kerikeri Inlet.

The report forms part of the Protected Natural Areas Programme (PNAP), established in 1982 to, by a process of field surveys and evaluation, determine areas of natural significance throughout New Zealand.

The reports are being done because many lowland forests, gumlands, wetlands and seacoasts are under represented in protected areas. The PNAP was established to ensure all information on the location and type of these special areas, many of which support endangered and threatened species was available and up to date.

Whangarei-based conservation officer Wendy Holland said the surveys were important in establishing what remained of various types of important habitat to ensure adequate protective measures can be put in place to safeguard their future.

"It's a case of how do we know what we are loosing if we don't know what is there in the first place. These surveys are an important step in answering this question," Ms Holland said

Ms Holland said the Kerikeri Ecological District had some particularly distinctive features that have been identified, like the extensive Waitangi freshwater wetlands and a number of places where kiwi can still be found in backyards and under verandas.

Information for the report was collected from ecological surveys carried out in Northland between 1994 and 1996 and which identified a total of 97 natural areas. Of these 86 were considered to be of regional or national significance.

Ms Holland said a variety of people and organisations that require information on the significance and makeup of natural areas in the Kerikeri Ecological District would use the report. These include the Far North District Council, Northland Regional Council, iwi, landowners, Forest and Bird, educational institutions and the Queen Elizabeth II National Trust.

Copies of the report, that was written by Linda Conning and Nigel Miller, will be available for the public to view at all DOC offices around Northland as well as the Far North District Council and the Northland Regional Council. Copies can also be purchased from the Northland Conservancy office in Whangarei for $20 or by contacting Wendy Holland.


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