TODAY |

Environmentalists raising funds for ambitious plan to restore Banks Peninsula farmland to former glory

Farmland across two dormant volcanoes on the Banks Peninsula could soon be put out to pasture.

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Native trees like Totara and birds such as Tūi once thrived in the region, but its rolling hills are now covered in grass and gorse. Source: 1 NEWS

Environmentalists are hoping to raise funds for an ambitious plan to restore the land to its former glory from 150 years ago.

“It went from this massively green part of the world to hardly any pockets left, about 10 per cent left,” ecologist Cynthia Roberts explained.

Native trees such as totara once blanketed the landscape, which was bursting with native birds like tūi.

Now, a group of environmentalists are hoping to purchase a 500-hectare block as part of a $1.5 million project to turn back time.

The stock will be removed, and pest control will be introduced in its place.

“By removing the grazing from the block, we will see a lot of regeneration so we’re securing the area from the biosecurity perspective,” Rod Donald Trust chair Maureen McCloy said.

The site, known as Te Ahu Patiki, includes the two highest peaks in Christchurch - Mount Herbert and Mount Bradley - sits between Department of Conservation land and a recreational park, creating an ecological corridor.

McCloy said some of the land can be registered for carbon credits, in which the Government, under the Emissions Trading Scheme, pays entities who remove greenhouse gases. It can then be sold to companies which emit greenhouse gases.

“If that’s successful, then we will be able to use the income to manage the land,” McCloy said.

The Government is already investing $5.11 million in pest control in the hopes of restoring native wildlife and plants across 28,000 hectares.

“That must be our vision, to have the whole of Banks Peninsula pest-free, and I think it’s doable,” McCloy said.

More donations are needed to buy the land so the past can once again come to life.