The latest QEII covenant registered in Tamahere is another small but important step toward restoring some of the vast natural environment lost in the Waikato.
Tamahere resident Leo Koppens is proud to have the sixth covenant in the Tamahere-Matangi area protecting private land forever.
The QEII National Trust partners with landowners to protect special places on private land for the benefit of present and future generations.
Almost 70% of New Zealand – 19 million ha – is in private land ownership, so protecting biodiversity on private land is critical to reversing the decline of indigenous biodiversity, the trust says.
To be known as Koppens Bush, the area’s sixth covenant is over 1.4ha and protects a lowland, revegetated treeland gully system between Koppens Rd and Birchwood Lane.
Around Aotearoa New Zealand, more than 4503 covenants have been registered since 1977, covering more than 184,000ha. The covenanted area has been described as the equivalent of a national park.
The Waikato has more than 17,500ha protected by around 675 covenants.
In the Tamahere-Matangi area the covenants range from 0.4ha up to 2ha.
All sites, except for a stand of kahikatea on a Matangi covenant are restoration sites, often building on the base of some remnant gully vegetation, said Lynette Benson, QEII Trust’s Waikato-Hunua Regional Representative.
The importance of such protection – and the scale of what has been lost – is brought into perspective by some facts.
The 159,376ha Hamilton Ecological District is one of the most modified districts in New Zealand with only 1.6% of the indigenous vegetation remaining.
At least 20% of its indigenous flora is threatened or extinct and more than one half of its indigenous bird species have gone.
“So although the [Tamahere-Matangi] covenants are small in area, they are in keeping with the general gully restoration projects and are often an integral part of the matrix of other restoration sites,” Benson said.
The trust works in partnership with landowners to protect their most treasured areas. Each covenant is tailored to reflect the wishes of the landowner.
Landowners interested in protecting an area of land can, contact their local QEII representative
If the covenanting process is part of a resource consent it is always useful to have the QEII Trust involved early in the planning process so it can endeavour to get the best outcome, Benson said.