Conference 2003

Conference 2003
Greening the City:
Bringing Biodiversity Back
into the Urban Environment


Indigenous Biodiversity in Bay of Plenty Cities

Willie Shaw (Wildland Consultants, Rotorua)

Tauranga and Rotorua are the two largest urban centres in the Bay of Plenty Region and both are situated at the junction of key major ecosystems. Tauranga is part of one of the fastest growing parts of New Zealand and is situated adjacent to Tauranga Harbour. It also adjoins the sea coast and associated coastal dunes, and contains other significant remnants of indigenous vegetation and habitats for indigenous fauna. Rotorua overlaps with a major geothermal field and related surface features and contains many remnants of thermal vegetation and important avifauna habitat. It is also situated on the shores of Lake Rotorua and satellite settlements are situated on the shores of other major lakes — most of which have increasing problems with deterioration of water quality.

Tauranga City has undertaken a major survey of remaining natural areas, established a monitoring network, and identified opportunities for ecological restoration. It is also grappling with major growth issues, ecological and other constraints to growth, and issues related to the environmental effects of major new infrastructure such as large-scale residential development and roading. The City now has active programmes underway for the restoration of Mauao (Mt Maunganui), weed monitoring and control along an extensive section of duneland, and increasing planting of indigenous species. There is also increasing activity by community-based restoration groups.

A similar pattern is evident in Rotorua, where the District Council has also undertaken a survey of remaining natural areas and is working with the community to restore a major urban wetland at Hannah's Bay and restoration of lake margins and wetlands at Lake Okareka. There are also community-based initiatives along the Ngongotaha Stream and in local reserves. There is tremendous potential for the restoration of geothermal habitats in the centre of the city, in Kuirau Park.

Similar initiatives are also underway in other Bay of Plenty urban centres, such as Kawerau.

  • There is a dispersed network of degraded natural areas in urban places close to where people reside;
  • Good baseline information on the extent and composition of remaining natural areas;
  • A strong desire by motivated local residents to improve the state of their natural environments;
  • An increasing commitment from Councils to protect and restore indigenous biodiversity in and adjacent to urban settings.

Conference sponsored by:

British Council NZ
The Community Trust
Landcare Research

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Last updated: October 12, 2003