The decline in biodiversity is one of New Zealand’s biggest environmental issues, with approximately 85% of our lowland forests, wetlands and sand dunes now gone (State of the Environment Report 1997), mostly converted into farm land.
Over the last 100 years, there have been 33 documented extinctions, including 16 birds, nine terrestrial invertebrates and six vascular plants (King 1984: Hitchmough et al. 2005). Of New Zealand’s native species almost 2,500 are listed as threatened.
Here in Taranaki, our biodiversity is greatly influenced by the presence of Mount Taranaki. Our region contains a diverse range of vegetation, from semi-coastal, rainforest to tussock land. Taranaki has also experienced the lost around 60% of its forest, 92% of its wetlands and more than 80% of its indigenous coastal vegetation. Our freshwater biodiversity is also being affected by increasing land use intensification and chemical, farming and other run off polluting our waterways.
You can support biodiversity in our own backyard and our wider natural environment by doing some simple things as discussed below.
Attract native wildlife
Create zones to attract native species like lizards and insects with undisturbed rock and log piles in warm, dry, sunny spots in your garden. Learn more in this Department of Conservation guide.
Grow plants and trees that will attract beneficial insects into your garden to support our native bee population, other insects and also native birds. See our ‘Bring in the birds and bees’ guide for detail.
Find out what natives you should be growing
What used to grow in your area is a good indication of what will grow there well. Are you near the sea, or a river, or are you near the mountain? Even which side of the mountain you are on can affect what will grow well. For details see the Taranaki Regional Councils restoration planting guides.
Learn more about biodiversity
In 2018 the Restore Taranaki project was initiated by Wild for Taranaki. Restore Taranaki is a Taranaki wide initiative bringing together over 40 local organisations to collaborate to restore the Taranaki environment. United in their goal, within Restore Taranaki individuals, groups and organisations are coming together to carry out conservation work and collaborate together.
Volunteer to support biodiversity
There are a diverse range of conservation groups working to protect our natural environment in Taranaki. From weed management and pest control to native species reintroduction, there are lots of opportunities to get involved, including:
Ngamotu Marine Reserve Society works to preserve the local coastal and marine environments.
Parininihi - help save the Taranaki Kokako at Parininihi, a 2000 hectare forest stretching from Whitecliffs to Mt Messenger. The forest is managed by Tiaki Te Mauri O Parininihi Trust on land returned to Ngāti Tama as part of their Treaty settlement with the Crown.
Project Maunga is a collaboration between the Department of Conservation, eight Taranaki iwi and NEXT Foundation to undertake landscape-scale ecological restoration, encompassing Taranaki, Pouakai, Kaitake and Ngā Motu/Sugar Loaf Islands.
Rotokare Scenic Reserve, a 12.5ha fully pest proof fenced reserve inland from Eltham. There are regular working bees to get involved in.
The Taranaki Conservationists, a community group which empowers Taranaki people to support conservation activities and beach cleans through a social and fun approach.
The Huatoki Conservation Group cares for native habitats in the Huatoki area.
Conservation events you can get involved in are listed on the Restore Taranaki Facebook page.
If you know of other stockists/retailers/suppliers/services or all round fantastic sustainable sources please let us know so that we can include them here.