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Tawapou Farm at Matapouri

Matapouri family’s long term commitment to preserving bush recognised by Sir Brian Lochore

Over fifty Whangarei landowners who protect natural features with QEII covenants were acknowledged for their generosity by Sir Brian Lochore on 22 July at Tawapou Farm in Matapouri.

Guy Bowden with Sir Brian LochoreThe covenantors, along with representatives from Northland Regional Council, Whangarei District Council and the Department of Conservation, were invited to the farm to meet QEII directors and staff and for a walk through the coastal bush protected by the Bowden family.

Right: Guy Bowden discussed the extensive weed and pest control the family has carried out in the bush with QEII Chairperson, Sir Brian Lochore.

Sir Brian, chairperson of the Trust, said a QEII covenant is a legally binding protection agreement which is registered on the title of the land.

'It is voluntary but once in place it protects the area forever,’ he said.

'Private property rights are not jeopardised by a covenant as the landowner retains ownership of the land and continues to control access.’

Since 1993, the Bowdens have protected ten outstanding blocks of coastal cliffs and forest remnants with covenants totalling 33ha.

The strong regeneration in the bush is a reflection of the family’s commitment to nearly 40 years of bush restoration and ongoing possum control.

‘I noticed the fine custodianship of this land as soon as we came on to the farm,’ said Sir Brian.

‘The work the Bowdens have done is a prime example of how to protect our natural heritage that is becoming more and more important to all of us.

‘Private landowners in Whangarei now protect 2,400 hectares with just under 300 covenants.

'We couldn’t protect so much for future generations without the generosity of our covenantors.’

QEII gathering at Tawapou Farm woolshed

Above: Whangarei QEII covenantors and others involved with the Trust gathered at the Tawapou Farm woolshed to meet Sir Brian Lochore and other QEII directors and staff.

Katharine Bowden welcomed the guests to the family farm.

‘One of the first things we did when we arrived here was to fence off a piece of bush,’ she said.

'The protected areas in this piece of paradise are now a huge source of pride and achievement.’

Katharine Bowden welcomes guests

Above: Katharine Bowden recounted the history of the family farm and the protection of the coastal forest remnants.

Nan Pullman, QEII Whangarei Regional Representative, said forest remnants, wetlands, saltmarsh, coastal foreshores, archaeological sites and revegetation projects are just some of the features protected locally with covenants.

‘Covenants in the Whangarei region also protect the habitat of threatened species such as kiwi, brown teal and geckos,’ she said.

‘To enable us to protect as many of our natural features as possible, we work closely with covenantors, councils, surveyors and ecologists to spread the funds available for fencing and pest control further.’

QEII gathering at Tawapou Farm woolshed

Above Whangarei QEII covenantors with Katharine Bowden seated on the right.

Guy Bowden explained how the family’s long term commitment to weed and pest control is bringing back native species such as bellbirds to the bush.

‘The covenant protects one of the best examples of pohutukawa forest in Northland,’ he said.

‘We are now replacing fences around our original covenant to make sure this protection continues.

‘Without the help of QEII and their local representative Nan Pullman, and the Northland Regional Council, we wouldn’t be where we are today.’

Walk on Tawapou Farm

Above: QEII covenantors and other guests enjoyed a walk on Tawapou Farm through to the coastal forest protected by the covenants.

QEII covenant on Tawapou Farm

Above: The coastal forest remnants protected by the QEII covenants include pohutukawa, kowhai, totara, tanekaha, puriri, manuka, flax and coprosma.

The proximity to the Poor Knights Islands makes the covenant a ‘stepping stone’ for native birds such as bellbirds. These are now re-introducing into the bush.

Lisa Forester, Northland Regional Council

Above: Lisa Forester, Northland Regional Council Biodiversity Officer, examining native orchids including Greenhoods (Pterostylis species).

Greenhood orchids Photo: Loralee Hyde

Right: Greenhood orchids protected by the covenant.












Bernard Card and Nan Pullman

Left: Bernard Card, QEII Director, with Nan Pullman, QEII Whangarei Regional Representative.











QEII gathering at Tawapou Farm

Above: Ian Page, who together with his wife Sandy has an approved covenant at Tahere, discusses the progress of the covenant towards registration with QEII staff, Alistair Webb and Kerri Lukis.

Percy Ginders Photo: Nan PullmanPercy Ginders, one of the guests, has protected his bush on Ngunguru River with a covenant since March 2000.

'It was most interesting finding out about other covenants at the event,’ he said.

‘All people who protect bush with covenants are providing for the future.

‘Brown teal are now returning to the pond in my covenant.

'Protecting the bush with QEII adds value to the property.'

Right: Percy Ginders at his Ngunguru River covenant.

Published 3 August 2009

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