New Zealand's largest native grasshopper 'jumping for joy' as home becomes conservation land

The home of the country's largest native grasshopper is now a safe haven for the endangered critter.

A large section of the Mackenzie Basin has been protected as conservation land, and scientists say it could help save the large insect, with only a few hundred robust grasshoppers left in the world.

The University of Canterbury's Tara Murray says unlike most grasshoppers, the giant critters "don't jump and land on blades of grass like other grasshoppers do. They really just flop around".

The endangered creature, only found in small pockets of the Mackenzie Basin, and now 440 hectares of the area, known as the Tekapo Triangle, has been converted into conservation land in the hopes of protecting them.

The Department of Conservation's (DOC) Warren Chinn says the protected area is "a safe haven" or "stronghold" for the grasshopper.

"It's fantastic. At last, an invertebrate that's endemic to New Zealand is getting accorded protection. Or, at least, its habitat is getting accorded protection that is long-needed ," Mr Chinn said.

The Mackenzie country's distinctively dry landscape and ecosystem is under increasing threat from farming expansion - and predators.

However, the free transfer of Crown land to the DOC estate has afforded the area legal land protections.

Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage says the grasshopper is "a species that depends on our native mosses [and] lichens to survive, so protecting the habitat should have the grasshopper jumping for joy".

Along with the Tekapo Triangle's legally protected status, scientists have formed six breeding pairs of the grasshopper at the University of Canterbury.

It's hoped efforts to protect the grasshopper's natural habitat will see its population rise.

Once numbers in the wild are able to once again thrive in the wild, scientists will look to strengthen groups outside the triangle.

"Magnificent animal, you know. They're a true Gondwanan legacy," Mr Chinn said.

A large section of the Mackenzie Basin has become protected land. Source: 1 NEWS



Fears for elderly woman missing from Auckland home

Police are appealing to the public to help find an elderly Auckland woman who has gone missing.

Dailian Hong, who is in her late 70s, was last seen leaving her Forrest Hill home, on the North Shore, after 3pm. 

Ms Hong has been described as having white hair, is short in height and was wearing a red jacket at the time. 

Police patrols are currently looking for the woman.

Anyone who has seen Ms Hong has been advised to call 111. 

Source: NZ Police

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Two people hospitalised after being rescued from Auckland cliff

Emergency services have helped rescue two injured people from an Auckland cliff this afternoon.

The incident occurred on a cliff between Paritai Drive and Tamaki Drive, in Okahu Bay, Orakei, at 6pm.

The pair, a man and a woman, have been transported to hospital with injuries but it's currently unknown how they received them, a Fire and Emergency NZ spokesperson told 1 NEWS.

One person sustained injuries to their back and leg, while the other has an injured back.

The incident occurred between Paritai Drive and Tamaki Drive this afternoon. Source: 1 NEWS