55-hectares of Buller land purchased to protect native species


Two blocks of Buller land rich in native species have been purchased by the Crown to be protected in perpetuity as public conservation land, Minister of Conservation Poto Williams announced today.

Acquired via the Nature Heritage Fund, one block is in the Punakaiki River valley adjoining the Paparoa National Park while the other is close to Westport and the Buller River.

The 35-ha Punakaiki land adjoins the catchment of the Taiko/ Westland Petrel Specially Protected Area and frames the cycle exit/entry of the Paparoa Track Great Walk, also providing walker access to the historic Inland Pack Track.

"The purchase means a continuous range of ecosystems; from mountain to sea will be protected. Most importantly it safeguards the freshwater water values crucial for the Ngāi Tahu Nohoanga site in the lower valley," said Poto Williams.

"The purchase ensures nature remains the predominant feature, protecting the integrity of the Punakaiki River valley. I acknowledge the Mouat family who cared for the land for almost eighty years, and Te Runanga o Ngāti Waewae who have supported the purchase."

The Crown has also purchased 20-ha of low-lying river terrace wetland area immediately across the Buller River from Westport.

"The land is mostly wetland vegetation including some outstanding swamp scrub and remnant patches of kahikatea, mature large kowhai, square sedge, mahoe, northern rata, and raupō. It provides habitat for giant kōkopu, longfin eel, bittern and white heron," said Poto Williams .

"Previously owned by the Hamilton family for nearly 50 years, the owners’ decisions to sell the land to the Crown is much appreciated and means these very special sites will be preserved as conservation land."