Conservation Minister Maggie Barry is pleased to announce two key remnants of the native landscape of the Banks Peninsula will now be open for public access.
Two properties on opposite sides of Akaroa harbour have been bought with help from the contestable Nature Heritage Fund, which is allocated at the Minister’s discretion.
They will substantially increase the amount of publicly accessible land on the peninsula and be managed by the Department of Conservation.
“Both are home to stunning examples of the peninsula’s native wildlife, including threatened endemic plants like the fork fern and sun hebe,” Ms Barry says.
The threatened endemic sun hebe plant growing at Carew's Peak
“Akaroa harbour is already popular for its rich history and eco-tourism. This newly protected land will further enhance its appeal and preserve its charm for future generations.”
Ninety hectares of regenerating bush and black beech forest have been bought from the Hamilton family, who have a long history in the Akaroa area and previously gifted Palm Gully Scenic Reserve to the Crown.
The newly bought land will link Palm Gully up with other reserves and covenant land in the area.
Ninety hectares of regenerating bush at Akaroa
The second piece of land is on the south side of Akaroa harbour and will almost treble the size of the Carews Peak Scenic Reserve.
A generous legacy to the North Canterbury branch of the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society from the estate of Diana Watson helped to enable the purchase.
Branch committee chair Rachel Hurford says it enthusiastically supported the acquisition after visiting the site.
“It’s very gratifying for the North Canterbury committee that it has been able to contribute to the purchase of Carew’s Peak in partnership with the NHF,” she says.
“Its prime position overlooking Wainui and Akaroa will make a significant contribution to protecting biodiversity and encouraging accessible walking opportunities on the southern side of Akaroa Harbour.”
The Nature Heritage Fund aims to protect the full range of New Zealand’s ecosystems.
Since 1990 it has saved more than 340,000 hectares of land which would otherwise have been cleared, logged or damaged by introduced animals.