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New reserve at Hickory Bay

24 July 2002 Media Statement

New reserve at Hickory Bay

The Nature Heritage Fund has secured an area of outstanding ecological diversity at Hickory Bay, Banks Peninsula, as public conservation land, Conservation Minister Sandra Lee announced today.

She said the purchase of nearly 300 hectares of land alongside the existing 22 hectare Ellengowan Scenic Reserve will make the new merged reserve the largest scenic reserve on the Peninsula.

"The inclusion of this area into the reserve network will create one of the most outstanding conservation areas in the Akaroa Ecological District," said Ms Lee.

"Most reserves on the Peninsula are small, protecting only small remnants of a single plant community," said Ms Lee. "An important feature of this new reserve is that it contains in one area a range of plant communities that are highly representative of those that were once widespread on the Peninsula."

She said the new reserve featured a striking volcanic lava dome surrounded by bush gullies and spurs. Plant communities included dense snow tussock grasslands, regenerating native scrub and thin-bark totara forest on upper hill slopes. The threatened shrub Coprosma wallii, as well as two plant species endemic to the peninsula are found here – Hebe strictissima, and Heliohebe lavaudiana.

"The new reserve provides seasonal habitat and food sources for a number of forest bird species such as the threatened Banks Peninsula kereru, as well as korimako/bellbird, pipiwharauroa/shining cuckoo, miromiro/tomtit, and kakaruai/robin," said Ms Lee.

"Being so close to other protected areas like the nearby Hinewai Reserve increases the value of the new reserve, as it enables species such as kereru to forage much widely."

She said the area would be managed by the Department of Conservation and priority will be given to removing the wilding pines scattered across the property.

ENDS

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