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Conservation

protecting and maintaining west coast's natural heritage

In New Zealand, we deeply value our land and its natural wonders. Te Tai Poutini/West Coast region is mostly conservation land, covering 23,000 square kilometers, with 19,000 dedicated to conservation. That's 25% of New Zealand’s conservation land.

Discover our region's conservation efforts, get involved, and experience the beauty of the West Coast through eco tours and other activities.

What conservation means on the West Coast?

Conservation is about taking care of nature—protecting, preserving, managing, or restoring natural environments and the animals and plants that live there. It also involves managing how people use natural resources so that it benefits everyone now and in the future. This holistic approach ensures that our natural environment is preserved for future generations while supporting the well-being of local communities.

The West Coast has ambitious predator-free projects and various initiatives aim to eradicate invasive species like possums, rats, and stoats, which threaten native wildlife. By removing these predators, we can help restore balance to the ecosystem and create a safer environment for our native plants and animals to thrive.

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PROJECTS

Here are some of the West Coast conservation projects
from North to South.

The Kawatiri Coastal Trail

The Kawatiri Coastal Trail (KCT) is a 42km Grade 2, family friendly cycling and walking heritage trail that will connect the Buller District communities from Westport to Charleston.

The accessible trail route meanders through a range of diverse & stunning natural landscapes, including estuarine wetlands, podocarp forests, beautiful creeks and rivers, long sandy beaches and rocky coastlines. The trail is brimming with a rich variety of birdlife, wildlife and native plants.

The Charleston-Westport Coastal Trail Trust, the group who oversee the trail, are extremely fortunate to have a small but enthusiastic team of volunteers who commit hours to pest control, planting and weed management. The team will eventually manage over 100 traps and already significant catches of rats, stoats, weasels, and feral cats are being recorded.

The volunteers have also partnered with other conservation groups, planting over 2500 native plants along the trail corridor.

Careful trail management, a focus on sustainable tourism and collaborative efforts to enhance the surrounding natural environment, will ensure that many generations to come continue to enjoy, not only the journey, but the stunning natural environments and the rich heritage stories along the route of the Kawatiri Coastal Trail.

For more information on volunteering or donating to support conservation efforts along the trail please visit:

https://kawatiricoastaltrail.co.nz/volunteer/ or

https://givealittle.co.nz/org/charleston-westport-coastal-trail-trust

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Predator Control Partnership 1

Predator Control Partnership

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West Coast Penguin Trust

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Mt Te Kinga

Predator Free Te Kinga

The Predator Free Te Kinga Project aims to completely remove possums and reduce other predators from over 3,700 ha of Mount Te Kinga (Tekimoka), as part of a coordinated predator control programme across the wider Lake Brunner (Kōtukuwhakaoka) basin.

Mount Te Kinga is a 'forested island in a sea of farmland and lakes', making it particularly suitable to create a predator-free zone. Lakes and rivers provide natural barriers to reinvasion, with farmland and a double ring of traps providing extra protection. Coordinated possum reduction by both DOC (Department of Conservation) and OSPRI (Operational Solutions for Primary Industry) in surrounding ranges helps reduce reinvasion pressure.

Local farmers and other landowners in the region are an integral part of the project, performing vital trapping and monitoring work alongside staff. Members also contribute their knowledge, enthusiasm, and skills. A local farmer has even donated the use of a farm cottage as a forward base for project work and events.

Removal of predators in this special ecosystem will allow the regeneration of native plants and animals. We can expect populations of native mistletoe, clematis, and rata to rebound, along with seeing kākā, kakariki and kiwi populations increasing or re-establishing. Indeed, several species have recently been seen for the first time in decades within the project. These include kākā, NZ falcon ( kārearea), crested grebe (Pūteketeke) and bittern (matuku-hūrepo).

Te Kinga is an iconic mountain and a tourist destination on the shores of beautiful Lake Brunner. A return to a full and balanced native ecosystem including great spotted kiwi and other high-profile species will become a tourist attraction and could boost the local economy.

The long-term goal is to expand into a ‘mountains to sea’ project stretching between the Ahaura/Grey Rivers in the north to the Taramakau River in the south and eventually to link up with other projects to achieve the aim of Predator Free New Zealand by 2050.

Predator Free Te Kinga Video

Ōkārito Plant Project

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Planting (credit Zak Shaw)
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Predator Free South Westland

Restoring nature and sustaining community - from the mountains to the sea.

An ambitious five-year project to eliminate possums, rats and stoats from 100,000 hectares of land between the Whataroa and Waiau (Waiho) Rivers, the crest of the Southern Alps / Kā Tiritiri o te Moana, and the shores of the Tasman Sea / Te Tai-o-Rēhua.

The project will create employment opportunities, remove the risk of TB for farmers, and increase birdlife in one of Aotearoa’s most stunning landscapes.

Building on the success of Zero Invasive Predators (ZIP), Predator Free South Westland will use a mix of labor, trapping, baiting, and detection techniques to expand the effort. Natural barriers like mountains, rivers, and lakes will help keep predators out once they're gone.