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First opportunity to explore restored forest

Hon Steve Chadwick
Minister of Conservation

7 August 2008 Media Release
Embargoed 9am 7 August 2008

First opportunity to explore restored forest

Steve Chadwick today officially opened the new 1.7km walking track designed to open up the native bush area above the visitor centre.

“The new track, Te Arapiki O Tawhaki, will give more than 30,000 annual visitors to the National Wildlife Centre the opportunity to experience the massive 942 ha native forest,” Steve Chadwick said.

“The public can now experience the full extent of the reserve and its birdlife, and will see the results of a major forest restoration project, which has seen the return of kaka, kiwi and kokako in recent years.”

The Department of Conservation (DOC) funded the $150,000 track, which will take about two hours to walk, and construction began in February this year.

“Until now visitors haven’t had the opportunity to explore the reserve beyond the visitor centre – now they can walk up to a look-out offering spectacular views and see the immensity of this area that we are restoring, and perhaps even come into contact with our reintroduced species.

“I would like to thank Rangitane o Wairarapa for the name of the track, which refers to the legend of Tawhaki, who is said to dwell in the skies as a god of lightning and thunder.”

According to the legend Tawhaki ascended to the heavens via what is known in Maori astronomy as Te Arapiki O Tawhaki; The Stairway of Tawhaki. These stars can be seen during June and July by looking to the eastern horizon before dawn. The Mt Bruce lookout affords an outstanding view of this highly significant aspect of Te Ao Maori.

“This project demonstrates how successful we can be when different parties work together. Today is a marvellous opportunity to celebrate the coming together of the community and DOC to achieve a shared vision of a world-leading centre to preserve and promote New Zealand’s unique wildlife.”

Pukaha Mt Bruce is well established as New Zealand’s National Wildlife Centre for conservation of some of New Zealand’s most endangered species. It is also a centre for environmental education and co-tourism destination.

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