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“Working towards the ecological restoration of Golden Bay”
Picture a mainland community which achieves a high level of both native habitat restoration and management of pest plants and mammals. Imagine this community close to two national parks: Kahurangi, the second largest, and Abel Tasman, the most popular in the country. Now also picture this as a place where there are long standing community groups supporting an ecologically sound and sustainable environment. Since we are a tourist magnet, you may have visited us and guessed correctly. This community is called “Golden Bay / Mohua”.
Golden Bay is bordered by the Abel Tasman National Park, the Kahurangi National Park, Farewell Spit and the sea. The population of 4,000 plus dwells mostly on farmland along river valleys and a narrow coastal margin ringed by mountains. It has one road in, over the massive marble mountain known as Takaka Hill. 73% of the land mass of Golden Bay is within the Department of Conservation estate. The natural landscape dominates throughout. The people are very community minded and for the most part, very caring of the environment. No region in New Zealand is better designed for a successful project to improve water quality, reduce weed and pest incursions, and enhance its natural character. We do not need predator proof fences as we only have the fences with the National Parks.
Golden Bay / Mohua has weedbusting programmes dealing with the most invasive species of canopy vines and other pest plants, like Project De-Vine, a much awarded project whose results are already clearly visible in Golden Bay. Recently a programme has been launched to actively control pest plants along the boundaries of Abel Tasman National Park and to aid riparian plantings on Fonterra supply farms. We have StreamCare, which grows, plants, and maintains riparian plantings aiding water ecology. Many different individuals and groups, like Friends of the Cobb, have trapped and successfully reduced stoats and rats. There are active bird monitoring and care groups and volunteer work on conservation reserves. Bird habitat enhancement programmes are throughout the Bay.
Here in Golden Bay, many conservationists now desire and want to work towards a mainly predator and pest free mainland island of great proportions. This can be brought about through the cooperation of our community groups and volunteers, the Department of Conservation, and private philanthropic societies. “Project Mohua” is the umbrella that can unite these varied programmes into a whole. Naturally, as with the locally praised and treasured Project Janszoon, Project Mohua needs long term sponsorship to achieve its ambitious goals.
Project Mohua will provide a forum for the many volunteer groups in Golden Bay and help to coordinate their efforts and assist with fund raising and attracting volunteers. The forum is aiming to meet a few times a year to set out plans and discuss on-going issues and a core committee can liaise with individual groups at other times.
Principal supporter: The Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society of New Zealand
Other active supporters:
Department of Conservation
Tasman District Council
Federated Farmers – Golden Bay branch
Marine Farming Association