West Coast family land preserved
Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication.
IntroductionA piece of West Coast land has changed hands for the first time since the 1860s protecting a significant area of lowland forest, Minister of Conservation Hon Dr Nick Smith says.
Date: 16 March 2013 Source: Office of the Minister of Conservation
A piece of West Coast land has changed hands for the first time since the 1860s protecting a significant area of lowland forest, Minister of Conservation Hon Dr Nick Smith says.
Owned by the Mirfin family for 150 years, the 120-ha property at Ikamatua, south-west of Reefton, has been bought by the Nature Heritage Fund to add to nearby conservation lands.
Looking up the Rough River with Mirfin forest boundary along right side of photo
Dr Smith thanked the Mirfin family for their foresight to holding on to their land and safeguarding the beech and podocarp forest remnant, which borders Paparoa National Park and other conservation areas.
“The Mirfins bypassed a number of opportunities to harvest the block and sell their land for farming development because it was their wish to leave it in its natural state.”
“Alongside the kererū (NZ pigeon), western weka, kākāriki (parakeet) and other native species that habit the area, all New Zealanders are set to benefit from the Mirfin’s desire to see this land conserved.”
The block is ecologically important as part of more-extensive adjoining forest areas and is likely to support great spotted kiwi among other species.
It also provides natural vegetation buffer to part of the Otututu or Rough River, the upper catchment of which is in conservation lands. The river has a diversity of native fish species as well as being a significant brown trout fishery. The threatened whio (blue duck) is also found here.
The Nature Heritage Fund is a contestable ministerial fund aimed at protecting the full range of New Zealand’s natural ecosystems.
Mirfin forest block (on the left of Rough River) – most of the forest shown is the Mirfin block
Since 1990 the fund has protected more than 340,000 ha of natural areas which would have otherwise been cleared, logged or further damaged by introduced browsing animals.
Christian Bonnevie, +64 21 841 087