The Rotoiti Nature Recovery Project (RNRP) was established within the Nelson Lakes National Park at the northern end of the Southern Alps in 1997 as one of six Department of Conservation ‘mainland islands’.
The mainland island programmes aimed to achieve similar results as those achieved on many protected offshore islands with a major focus being on conducting research into pest management methods and sharing the lessons learnt.
Lake Rotoiti through beech
The site at Rotoiti was selected because it contained montane honeydew Nothofagus beech forest typical of the indigenous cover of the northern South Island of New Zealand. The initial area of 825 hectares is close to the park’s visitor centre at St Arnaud and easily accessible for staff and for the public.
In 2001 the control of mustelids expanded into adjacent forest taking the total area to c.5000 ha. A community conservation group, the Friends of Rotoiti, established in 2001 has increased the effective control area further still.