protecting a treasure of Fiordland

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Project Info

The Hollyford Conservation Project focuses on an “island” of 2500 hectares in the area surrounding and south of Martins Bay, Whakatipu Waitai, in the lower Hollyford Valley.

The area includes:

  • one of most important dune systems in the South Island, home to thousands of nesting seabirds including the rare Fiordland crested penguin

  • a unique lagoon and world renowned wetlands, habitat for kotuku or white heron, fernbirds, bitterns, karearea, NZ falcon and many more

  • mixed beech and podocarp forest including giant rimu,
    southern rata, kowhai, native mistletoe and an extensive range of native orchids

  • once prolific birdlife including kaka, kea, mohua
    and kereru

Our vision is to halt the decline of native species and to enhance
surviving populations, with the long-term goal of re-introducing species now locally extinct.

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Progress

A great start to operations: The Department of Conservation has confirmed the entire area of the lower Hollyford (from Kaipo River to Big Bay) will be included in the Battle for our Birds predator control programme, in Spring 2014. Aerial 1080 will provide a knock down for all pests – rats, possums and stoats – across the focus area but also providing a much needed “buffer control” on surrounding hills before ground trapping operations begin.

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Pest Control

The decline and regional extinction of all bird species can be directly attributed to predation by introduced pests, primarily rats and stoats, and to some extent possums. Possums, however, are the principle reason the magnificent red flowering of our southern rata is on the way out. Fresh rata foliage is the number one delicacy for possums.

In order to restore and protect the native biodiversity of the lower Hollyford Valley, we need to find the most effective method of removing these introduced pests.

On the 2400 hectare “island” of intensive predator control we are using an extensive network of trap lines with bait stations, stoat traps and set traps for all three predators.

In the surrounding hills the Department of Conservation are assisting us to buffer the area with aerial 1080 control.

1080 is highly controversial, yet we regard it as the lesser yet necessary evil in our fight to maintain the native ecology of the Hollyford Valley.

Please see the following links in the discussion of the effects and efficacy of 1080.

Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment – Evaluating the Use of 1080

Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment – Evaluating the Use of 1080 Update report, July 2013

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Vision

Imagine a valley that begins at the Homer tunnel in the steep sided Darren Mountains, following the Hollyford river as it journeys down past Fiordland’s highest mountain, Mt Tutoko. From there it flows into Lake McKerrow, then continues to the fur seal and penguin colonies at Martins Bay. Here a long stretch of sand dunes is home to vast numbers of seabirds, the beach stretching seven kilometres from the mouth of the Hollyford river south in the direction of Milford Sound.

Behind the beach there are reminders in the form of middens of Tangata Whenua whose tribes once settled in this area, right through to the first visitations from the European explorers and settlers.

In 2014 an organisation is formed, the Hollyford Conservation Trust. It begins as a partnership between the Department of Conservation and local landowners and stakeholders. The vision: to rid this extraordinary area of the rats, stoats and possums in order to allow the forest to once again flourish, for the bird populations to increase and equally importantly, for the re-introduction of many of the birds and native trees that have gone from the valley over recent years.

Imagine visiting the Hollyford Valley in the future, where the enemies of native flora and fauna have been cleared and the most noticeable difference in the forest is the bird life. Like the forest of Captain James Cook’s time, it rings with the whistle and chortles of the tui, bellbird, kereru, mohua and kaka.

This is also a place for people. The Hollyford Valley and Martins Bay have significant history of pre European times where the Maori lived in this rich and bountiful place. Today it is a very special place for the local landholders, visitors and stakeholders who have shown their will to preserve, restore and enhance the many significant values that the Hollyford Valley and Martins Bay represent.

The Hollyford Conservation Trust is only just beginning, but there is a tremendous commitment and passion to protect and restore the native ecology of the area. This is not only for those of us who visit often, but for all future generations of New Zealanders. We would urge you not only to visit, but if possible, to help. The lower Hollyford Valley has an enormously rich heritage and legacy for all to experience and enjoy.

- Ron Anderson, Chairman, Hollyford Conservation Trust

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Hollyford Conservation Trust Newsletter #2

If you will be in Martins Bay on 5 September then please join us at the Lodge for a celebration to mark the first anniversary of the Hollyford Conservation Project.

Further details are in our second newsletter, which also includes articles on project progress across all areas of the operation and a brief explanation about our choice of pest control methodology.

Read more on Hollyford Conservation Trust Newsletter #2…

Hollyford Conservation Trust Newsletter #2

If you will be in Martins Bay on 5 September then please join us at the Lodge for a celebration to mark the first anniversary of the Hollyford Conservation Project.

Further details are in our second newsletter, which also includes articles on project progress across all areas of the operation and a brief explanation about our choice of pest control methodology.

Read more on Hollyford Conservation Trust Newsletter #2…

Hollyford Conservation Trust Newsletter #2

If you will be in Martins Bay on 5 September then please join us at the Lodge for a celebration to mark the first anniversary of the Hollyford Conservation Project.

Further details are in our second newsletter, which also includes articles on project progress across all areas of the operation and a brief explanation about our choice of pest control methodology.

Read more on Hollyford Conservation Trust Newsletter #2…