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Trust, Donor Purchase Wellington Native Bush

Fifty hectares of valuable native bush that Wellington City Council refused to buy has been purchased thanks to a new conservation trust and a generous anonymous benefactor.

The block of bush in Long Gully which runs between Brooklyn and the Karori Wildlife Sanctuary was purchased by a new conservation coalition, The Wellington Natural Heritage Trust, for $202,000 – a sum gifted by an anonymous donor.

Spokesperson for the Trust Dean Baigent-Mercer said he was thrilled with the purchase. "We were confident that others in the community would share our vision and help us protect this area for the benefit of Wellingtonians,” he said.

“The forest has important ecological values and recreational potential. It is particularly significant because its boundary adjoins the Karori Wildlife Sanctuary,” he said.

“There are patches of native bush here which are between 50 and 80 years old. It really is far more advanced than anything in the town belt.”

Dean said there were wild deer, pigs and goats in the bush and moves were under way to remove them and to erect goat proof fences around the block to allow native plants to regenerate.

The pigs and deer would probably need to be shot.

Steps would also be taken to protect the land from possums and stoats which would make the land attractive to native birds from the Karori Sanctuary and surrounding areas.

Plans are under way to build tracks through the bush so that people can walk through native bush from Brooklyn to Karori.

“The views are magnificent,” said Dean. “This land will be a great alternative to Karori Sanctuary because people can’t run through there now.”

The Wellington Natural Heritage Trust will own and manage this land as a reserve. Trustee Colin Ryder said that the Trust's first priorities are to arrange for the forest to be legally protected in perpetuity and to organise fencing, pest control and track construction.

"Many people today enjoy the beauty and natural values of Wilton Bush, largely because of the foresight and generosity of the donor, Joe Wilton," Mr Ryder said.

"The Trust will ensure that the rescue of this forest by our timely unknown donor will also result in a significant asset for Wellington."

The Trust comprises the Southern Environmental Association, Native Forest Action, Action for the Environment, Wellington Botanical Society and the Wellington Branch of Forest & Bird.

ENDS

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