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Waikawau Bay in the Coromandel saved for public

Waikawau Bay in the Coromandel saved for public

A classic Coromandel Bay fringed with 2.5 km of white sandy beach is to be preserved for all New Zealanders thanks to a new purchase by the Department of Conservation.

Conservation Minister Chris Carter announced today that 150 hectares of coastal forest in Waikawau Bay is to become a new reserve, alongside the 1000 hectare Waikawau Bay Farm Park already owned by DoC.

"Acquisition of this new land secures perpetual public access to all of Waikawau Bay, a magnificent piece of the Coromandel's coast in a popular recreation area," Mr Carter said.

"It also preserves a significant block of North Island coastal forest, one of the least protected habitats in New Zealand," he said.

Waikawau Bay lies northeast of Colville on the Coromandel Peninsula and sports a white sand beach typical of the area. It has prominent headlands at each end.

The new reserve includes the northern headland, and occupies a high ridge and two main valleys. It offers magnificent views out to the Great Mercury Islands, and includes a wide river estuary.

The property was donated to the University of Auckland by Paul Kelly to help fund an expanded business school. The university put the land up for sale on the open market and DoC won the tender for it this week.

The land is to be purchased for $3.54m, $2m of which is coming from the Nature Heritage Fund and DoC, and the remainder from the Government's discretionary fund.

"The Government decided it was important that this land remained in public ownership," Mr Carter said.

"It offers fantastic recreational opportunities for the public but perhaps more importantly, coastal forest and wetland areas on the Coromandel Peninsula are extremely rare. According to a botanical assessment carried out by Ewen Cameron of Auckland Museum, Waikawau Bay possesses extremely high plant diversity."

Mr Carter said the additional land contained a pohutakawa cliff forest, coastal broadleaf forest and kanuka forest. It also had a wetland area with adult cabbage trees.

The block will be managed by DoC as part of the Waikawau Farm park recreational reserve. It will also be protected as a scenic reserve under the Reserves Act 1977.

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