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Minister visits Maungatautari Ecological Island

17 March 2008 Media Release

Minister of Conservation visits Maungatautari Ecological Island

The Maungatautari Ecological Island near Cambridge will provide educational and scientific research opportunities of vital importance to the future of conservation management in New Zealand, says Minister of Conservation, Hon Steve Chadwick.

Commenting on her visit to the 3400 hectare, predator-proof fenced reserve last week and meeting with Maungatautari trustees and support staff, Steve Chadwick was impressed by the quality of vegetation within the fenced enclosures on the mountain.

"Flowering rata and other species in this regenerating forest are all flourishing behind a predator-proof fence which has been in place for less than two years," the Minister said. "The Trustees and local community who have worked so hard to achieve their dream have shown outstanding vision and commitment to a project that is a 'world first' for the type and scale of its undertaking on a mainland site."

Trustees informed the Minister that several species have been translocated to the maunga (mountain) over the past year, including a pair of takahe and several kiwi and kaka. The Trust recently celebrated the hatching of its first kiwi chick and the takahe have had two unsuccessful, but encouraging attempts at breeding.

"The ecological integrity and biodiversity value of Maungatautari in the absence of mammalian pests will improve markedly over time, providing a resource for education and research at all levels.”

"I acknowledge that the Trust relies heavily on volunteers for much of the work being achieved at Maungatautari but the long-term benefits to New Zealand's ecological well-being are obvious. The maunga has great potential as an educational resource for our future conservation managers," Steve Chadwick said.


ENDS

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