A group of landowners, iwi, local authorities and conservation groups are getting together to restore Mt Maungatautari to its original pest free forested state.
In a presentation to Environment Waikato’s Environment Committee, the group, led by David Wallace, Tony Roxborough, Wally Clarke and Bill Garland said the group had a vision to restore the mauri to the forest. It wanted to restore the mountain to an indigenous, self sustaining forest, permanently free of pests.
The interested groups working on the project include Waipa District Council, Department of Conservation, Waikato Conservation Board, landowners, tangata whenua and Environment Waikato. They are forming a Trust and implementing pest control initiatives on the mountain, which is south of Lake Karapiro in Waipa District.
The object of the Trust is to restore the ecology of the mountain to as close as possible to its natural state and maintain it for public enjoyment, recreation, education and cultural interest. The group has unanimous support from landowners in the area.
DoC representative Tony Roxborough said New Zealanders did not appreciate the rate of change in indigenous species. The Trust wanted people to be able to experience New Zealand the way it used to be.
“The outlook for indigenous species in New Zealand is not good. In the future icon species such as kiwi and kokako will become extinct in parts of New Zealand and we need to increase our management effort.”
Environment Waikato Biosecurity Group Manager John Simmons said the mountain would become a showcase for the Waikato.
“The benefits for the community are substantial, including biodiversity, economic and the reduced use of toxins for pest control in the future,” he said.