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Ngatapa Covenant Signed

Ngatapa Covenant Signed

Conservation Minister Chris Carter announced today that the Nature Heritage Fund had negotiated a conservation covenant with Fletcher Challenge Forests Industries Limited to protect 7,793 hectares of indigenous forest in the Ngatapa Block at Whirinaki, Northern Hawkes Bay.

Mr Carter said that Fletcher Challenge Forests Industries Limited, under its former name Tasman Forests Limited, was a signatory of the 1989 Tasman Accord.

“The Tasman Accord was an agreement reached between environmental groups and Fletchers to formally reserve indigenous forests on lands belonging to the forest company, a world first at the time,” said Mr Carter. The forest is part of larger Pohokura No 1 Block and is commonly referred to as the Ngatapa Block. It is located 65 kilometres to the east of Taupo and about 20 kilometres north of the Taupo-Napier highway. It contains 7,793 hectares of beech and podocarp dominated forest and a smaller area of pine forest that has been excluded from the covenant. “The signing of the Ngatapa covenant is a major milestone reinforcing the good faith in the partnership that exists between Fletchers and environmental groups forged by the Accord," Mr Carter said.

"I am greatly encouraged to see the responsible attitude taken by Fletcher Forests in protecting this magnificent piece of New Zealand’s natural heritage. It is something the company can well be proud of.”

Ngatapa Block is an important linkage between the wetter Urewera Ranges to the north and the drier Ahimanawa and Kaimanawa-Kaweka Ranges to the south. It provides an important ecological corridor between Ruakumara Forest Park, Te Urewera National Park, Whirinaki Forest Park and the Tataarakina, Nga Whenua Rahui Block to the south, forming the largest continuous tract of primarily indigenous landscape in the North Island.

The block is predominantly unmodified indigenous forest ranging in altitude from 200m to 1383 metres above sea level with some extensive areas of podocarp dominated forest, a forest type that is largely unprotected in the within the Kaimanawa Ecological District. It also has some complex beech associations and areas of subalpine shrubland, herbfield and rockland types around Mt Pohokura, that are uncommon in the District. It provides a complete unbroken sequence of plant communities from subalpine through to podocarp dominated forests along the rivers.

Mr Carter said: “Ngatapa has outstanding scenic values - it is rugged and spectacular with a large network of waterways that includes the Hautapu and Te Hoe Rivers, and is home to a number of threatened species such as, blue duck, North Island brown kiwi, North Island kaka and long tailed bats.

The signing of this covenant which is to be registered against the title of the land will ensure these significant landscape and conservation values will be protected in perpetuity under the Reserves Act 1977.”

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