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New slice of high country protected for the public

New slice of high country protected for the public

The protection of New Zealand's high country has taken another step forward with the formal handover of Clarence Reserve in Marlborough to the Department of Conservation.

Conservation Minister Chris Carter and Land Information Minister John Tamihere have signed a declaration transferring the administration of Clarence Reserve from Land Information New Zealand to the department.

The land lies on the inland slopes of the Seaward Kaikoura Range and totals more than 37,000 hectares. Although commonly known as Clarence Reserve, it has never actually been formally protected until now.

"This is a spectacular high country landscape," Mr Tamihere said.

"By setting it aside as conservation land, we can better protect the native species that live in the area, and we can allow for public access to what is a impressive recreational area offering tramping, hunting, mountain biking and horse riding."

Mr Carter said the land contained diverse landforms and many rare, interesting and unique plants. Among them were the pink broom, New Zealand lilac and coral daisy.

“Clarence Reserve is also home to a raft of native animals including birds such as falcon and two rare lizard and three giant weta species," Mr Carter said.

“It is historically important with the Clarence River having been used as a route by Maori for more than 750 years and later for grazing sheep by European settlers.

The Nature Heritage Fund provided funding to buy out the pastoral lease and occupation license on the Clarence Reserve in 1993 with the intent that the land would be set aside for conservation purposes. However, legal technicalities prevented the land being formally transferred from LINZ to DOC until now.

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