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  • Writer's pictureForest Lifeforce

‘Stunning battler’ returns to Northland

Rare native takes root in Bay of Islands sanctuary

One of New Zealand’s most endangered native plants is taking root in Northland. Forty Kakabeak plants reared by the Forest Lifeforce Restoration Trust, a private conservation organisation, were planted on Roberton Island in the Bay of Islands today (Saturday 27 July). The plants will be used to create a seed nursery, from where more Kakabeak can be grown for re-planting in the wild.

The Kakabeak holds New Zealand’s highest possible threatened plant ranking: ‘Nationally Critical’. Although grown widely in gardens these domestic plants all stem from a few wild plants, so have little or no genetic value.

The Hawke’s Bay-based FLR Trust runs the largest Kakabeak propagation and restoration programme in the country and already has four other seed nurseries. Roberton Island was selected as the site for the new, most northerly nursery because it’s been pest-free since 2009.

Simon Hall, Chairman of the Trust, said the Roberton Island project was a great example of the role that private conservation initiatives must play in complementing the work DOC does. He said conservation in New Zealand could no longer be purely the role of government agencies because the job was too big and the battle too fierce.

FLR Trust forest manager Pete Shaw expects to increase the number of plants in the Roberton Island nursery from the seed of the founding population. It’s from this expanded base that seedlings will be grown for replanting in the wild.

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