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New park in Canterbury’s Torlesse Range

12 October 2001 Media Statement
“Overwhelming public support” spurs creation of new park in Canterbury’s Torlesse Range

Conservation Minister Sandra Lee says overwhelming public support during the past six months has spurred the creation of New Zealand's first tussocklands park, on Canterbury’s Torlesse Range.

She confirmed today that the Korowai-Torlesse Tussocklands Park has now been gazetted and that she would officially open it on 2 November, ending a formal process that began in April.

Ms Lee says the new park, centred on the Torlesse and Big Ben ranges, will give visitors easy access to 22,000 hectares of magnificent high country natural treasures, including tussock grasslands, rock screes and beech forests.

“The area has outstanding scenic values and is also an important location for scientific research and natural history studies,” she said.

“High tussock grasslands are under-represented in our public conservation land, and this helps to redress the balance.”

Ms Lee paid tribute to a 10-year campaign by the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society in support of a conservation park that included the Canterbury landscape’s icon features.

She also congratulated the Nature Heritage Fund for making strategic land purchases during the past decade that enabled the original proposal to be enlarged, and her ministerial predecessors for supporting the idea.

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"I have also been impressed by the support for the park from the local high country community, Ngai Tahu, Federated Mountain Clubs and the Selwyn District Council.

“There is a real danger of running out of superlatives in trying to describe the value of this new park to New Zealand’s conservation heritage,” Ms Lee said.

The Department of Conservation is inviting the Canterbury community to share in the celebrations at the opening of the new park, next month, at the Pathfinder Lodge on the shores of Lake Lyndon in the Waimakariri Basin.

Canterbury conservator Mike Cuddihy said DOC appreciated the tremendous support for the proposed park, and wanted to thank all those who contributed by inviting everyone to a public dedication ceremony.


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