The official opening of the Underwood wetland in Dargaville.
Hon Nicky Wagner Associate Minster of Conservation spoke to around eighty people including community members, councillors, Fish & Game personnel and Conservation personnel at the combined DOC/Fish & Game event to officially open a wetland area near Dargaville on Sunday 19 February 2017.
The wetland is part of the larger land mass comprising of 342 hectares.and was was purchased from the Underwood’s through contributions of $600,000 and $55,000 from the DOC Nature Heritage Fund and Fish & Game NZ respectively.
It includes remnant kauri, hardwood forest and wetland, and drained river flats containing scatterings of kahikatea and is sited along the northern and eastern frontages of the Manganui and Northern Wairoa Rivers, five kilometres east of Dargaville township.
The Northland Fish and Game Council and previous DOC Services Director, Chris Jenkins, were instrumental in identifying this opportunity to protect this regionally significant area of native forest, wetland and river flats.
A management plan for the 66 hectares has been developed by the Fish and Game Council and the Department of Conservation will in time open the reserve for public access.
It is significant that the Nature Heritage Fund has contributed to wetland protection, as restoration of NZ indigenous wetlands is an integral part to having a healthy ecosystem.
The ribbon cutting ceremony flanked by Underwood family members, from left Tamsin, David, Gloria and Rebekah.
The Minister presented a framed 2014 Gamebird Habitat Print (of an Australasian bittern) to David and Gloria Underwood, courtesy of Fish & Game NZ – Northland Region. The Underwood’s were the former owners of site that will become the Underwood Wetland and Scenic Reserve that all New Zealanders can enjoy in future.
Minister Wagner enjoyed a walk and talk with Rebekah and Tamsin, grand-daughters of David and Gloria Underwood, along the site of the proposed Underwood Wetland and Scenic Reserve. And she took the opportunity during her visit to chat with Nicki Douglas (DOC Partnerships Director) and Rudi Hoetjes (Fish & Game Regional Manager – Northland) about the exciting prospects and future plans for the Reserve.
Photos by Malcolm Pullman