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Hopes for Stewart Island/Rakiura National Park

Media Release for Immediate Use

Forest and Bird Hopes for Stewart Island/Rakiura National Park

The Forest and Bird Protection Society today welcomed the NZ Conservation Authority's support in principle for the establishment of a Stewart Island National Park.

The Society's Southern Conservation Officer, Sue Maturin said, "Stewart Island is almost entirely covered in native forests. Visiting this island is almost as good as being the first person to see New Zealand."

"Kaka and kiwi abound, and forests stretch uninterrupted from the mountains to the sea. It truly deserves to be a National Park."

Sue Maturin attended the Authority's recent meetings in Invercargill and on Stewart Island. "It was heartening to hear that despite a few, still to be resolved, boundary concerns, most people acknowledged that Stewart Island should be a National Park."

Forest and Bird was chiefly concerned to ensure that the conservation status of nature reserves would not be downgraded by the creation of a national park, and urged the Authority to adopt the mean high tide, not the mean spring high tide, as the general seaward boundary.

The Society was disappointed that the initial investigation had excluded the

foreshore as this is an area that also deserves protection. "We hope this will be considered in the future," Sue Maturin said.

If the proposal proceeds it will be New Zealand's first oceanic island National Park, and our fourteenth National Park.


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