Fragile drylands receive conservation protection

By Te Ao - Māori News
Photo / Department of Conservation

Fragile drylands of Te Manahuna/Mackenzie Basin have received legal protection as new conservation land, with manawhenua to be part of a collective with the Crown and landholders to protect the area.

The legal protection of 11,800 hectares of the drylands was announced today by Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage.

“The new conservation land will come under the korowai or cloak of Tū Te Rakiwhānoa Drylands, a collaborative initiative between the Crown, manawhenua and landholders. It aims to foster active protection and management of significant lower altitude areas in the Mackenzie and Waitaki Basins to protect the area’s stunning landscape values and ensure native plants and wildlife can thrive," Minister Sage said in a statement.

“The Tū Te Rakiwhānoa Drylands concept seeks to ensure that the iconic tussocklands, shrublands, uncultivated soils and special plants like the dryland cress or maniototo peppercress, and wildlife from the world’s rarest wading bird the kakī/black stilt to the threatened robust grasshopper are secure. It better recognises the area’s significance to Ngāi Tahu and the contribution landholders, other than the Crown, can make.”

The Conservation Minister acknowledged the strong involvement of manawhenua (Te Rūnanga o Arowhenua, Te Rūnanga o Waihao and Te Rūnanga o Moeraki) in the project as part of a Treaty partnership and their gifting of the name Tū Te Rakiwhānoa, from a significant tupuna in Te Waka o Aoraki stories.