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Healthpost Nature Trust Thrilled By Surprise $100,000 Donation To Conservation

With many charities under financial pressure as grant money and sponsorships reduce due to Covid-19, HealthPost Nature Trust is feeling immensely grateful for a donation from Golden Bay’s Lonestar Farms that will enable the expansion of its ambitious conservation plans.

HealthPost Nature Trust administers the newly opened Wharariki Ecosanctuary and runs a number of conservation projects at the top of Golden Bay. Lonestar Farms is donating $100,000 this year to the Trust and significant sums in following years. Apart from Trust founder HealthPost’s donations, this donation by Tom Sturgess, owner of Lonestar Farms is the Trust’s largest ever individual donation.

Lonestar leases the farmland in the DOC’s Puponga Farm Park, which more than 100,000 annual visitors need to pass through to experience the Wharariki Ecosanctuary and Farm Park’s iconic Wharariki Beach and Farewell Spit.

HealthPost Nature Trust Chair Peter Butler says Tom Sturgess has always been a Trust supporter, but this significant donation was a welcome surprise.

“Tom was willing to retire a few hectares of grazing land when we constructed a stainless steel predator proof fence across Cape Farewell headland to create Wharariki Ecosanctuary. The farm is also an important firebreak for the area, protecting Farewell Spit, which was routinely burned before it came under DOC protection,” says Butler.

“We have ambitious plans for the sanctuary, and Tom’s generosity in matching HealthPost’s donations this year will really help us achieve them. We didn’t expect this level of support, and we are very thankful. Among other things it will certainly help with the reintroduction of fluttering shearwater and diving petrel to the mainland, an expensive project we intend to start this summer.”

Sturgess says that given the farm’s location, it has always co-existed with conservation. “We are fully supportive of HealthPost Nature Trust’s work, as they are of ours.” The Puponga Farm welcomes the public during lambing, unlike many other farms with public tracks. “We love giving the public a chance to see our farm animals, as well as see the many native species that live in the area. It is a unique experience, having farms and conservation co-exist so well together.”

Lonestar Farms has committed to continued and significant support in the coming years.

“With enough funding, we want to recreate an uninterrupted natural waterway from the foothills to the sea, a complete ecosystem for the native species already there, and the ones we plan to introduce,” said Peter Butler. “This is rare, but particularly so in the middle of a working farm.”

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