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Protecting our precious places

Taranaki Regional Council Environment Awards

David and Marie Russell

Video produced by the Taranaki Regional Council

David and Marie Russell’s retirement option was “a bach in the bush” – but they haven’t put their feet up. Since buying a 250-hectare block at Toro Road, Purangi, they have poured time, sweat and money into protecting and enhancing its native plants and wildlife.

The property is rich in indigenous biodiversity, including rare birds such as the spotless crake and North Island fernbird. It is classified as a Key Native Ecosystem and contains a regionally significant wetland.

The Russells have worked closely with the Council to implement the Biodiversity Plan which was prepared in 2010. They have undertaken fencing and predator control, and planted more than 6000 native plants. They have also protected most of the property with a QEII covenant.

Queen Elizabeth II National Trust

Video produced by the Taranaki Regional Council

This award specifically recognises the work of the Trust and its local representative, Neil Phillips, in Taranaki, where in the past nine years the area of land protected by QEII covenants has increased almost fourfold from 2,533 hectares to 9,651 hectares.

The Trust works closely with landowners to facilitate voluntary protection and also assists with fencing protected land. Fencing and legally protecting sites with covenants ensures that the site and its value will remain in perpetuity for future generations to enjoy. Keeping stock out of waterways, forest remnants and coastal dune areas ensures sustainable recovery for these areas.

The number of covenants in Taranaki has risen from 120 to 334, in less than a decade. In most cases, covenants are initiated by the landowner, and in all cases the landowner retains ownership of the site.

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