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Land purchase safeguards Pauatahanui wetland

24 July 2002 Media Statement

Land purchase safeguards Pauatahanui wetland

Conservation Minister Sandra Lee today announced the Nature Heritage Fund has purchased 1.8 hectares of land as an addition to the Pauatahanui Wildlife Reserve.

“This is a significant buffer area for a nationally important wetland," Ms Lee said.

"Development and land use pressures from further afield could affect water movement in the reserve potentially impacting adversely on the wetland area. Protecting and restoring this buffer area will help to mitigate any off-site adverse effects.

"The land comprises a small area of reverting pasture and larger areas of wetland on the southern side of the Pauatahanui stream. It will be designated as a government-purpose reserve for wildlife management. The additional area will buffer the wetland from future development and will add valuable natural areas,” Ms Lee said.

"The purchase has been funded through the Nature Heritage Fund with significant contributions from the Porirua City Council, Forest and Bird and the Lions Club of Whitby.

Porirua City Council recreation committee chairperson Councillor Kevin Watson said although the property was located in a rural zone and in an area subject to periodic flooding, a dwelling could have been built on the site without this designation.

"Setting aside the land for conservation and working on its restoration fits well within the context of adjoining land uses and is a direction the Council is pleased to support with $30,000 from its Reserves Purchases account,” Councillor Watson said.

The chairperson of the Pauatahanui Wildlife Reserve Management Committee Robin Chesterfield said the additional land had been sought for some years.

"We are delighted and grateful that this has now been achieved,” he said.

Ms Lee said the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society of NZ was a significant stakeholder in the reserve, having managed it for the last 20 years on behalf of the Department of Conservation. She said the government was grateful that Society recently gifted another small adjacent parcel of land to be added to the Reserve.

"I commend the Porirua City Council, the Lions Club of Whitby, and Forest and Bird for contributing towards the protection of this valuable piece of wetland. I am also pleased the purchase was supported by the Guardians of Pauatahanui Inlet.

“This is an excellent example of a conservation partnership between DOC and the community,” Ms Lee said.

ENDS

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