A Model of conservation
Reviewed by Rob Lahood
IN one of our greatest
"gardening" achievements, thousands of volunteers planting more
than 280,000 native trees and plants in just a decade turned Tiritiri
Matangi into a model of conservation.
With such massive plantings
between 1988 and 1998, it has become a remarkable restoration story
of the island's natural vegetation and birdlife.
was almost devoid of vegetation after a century of farming, but
it's now an open sanctuary for birds and a truly international success
story. Eleven species of rare and endangered birds plus the tuatara
have been successfully relocated to the island off the Whangaparaoa
peninsula just north of Auckland.
In a foreword, British
conservationist David Bellamy recalls one of his "most inspiring
days" spent on Tiri working with children planting native species
for the TV series Moa's Ark and meeting a takahe chick called
Bellamy enjoying its new island home.
Today the sanctuary is
hugely popular with New Zealanders and overseas visitors who are
keen to enjoy the natural environment and learn about the flora
and fauna. Bellamy urges readers to read the book and then go see
the island for themselves.
are doing this all right; every year more and more people visit
the island to see the transformation and take home a wonderful experience,
and the song of native birds. Last year almost 40,000 people visited.
This book provides the
definitive history of the island - now one of the many jewels of
the Hauraki Gulf - from early Maori occupation through the farming
period and wartime activities to the amazing restoration of natural
vegetation and birdlife.
Author Anne Rimmer has
done a comprehensive job - even receiving a handwritten letter from
Sir David Attenborough complimenting the book and all those who
helped make the island what it is today. Lavish illustrations and
magical bird studies. Wonderful.
I'm heading for the ferry
Reproduced with permission from the former Weekend Gardener magazine. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH