The Nature Heritage Fund turns 25 this year. The fund, designed to help landowners, government and communities safeguard their local ecosystems, has granted protection for 1.3 per cent of land in New Zealand, which equals 341,881ha.
The fund has protected land through direct purchases or covenants at a cost of $163m since it started in 1990. Out of more than 1370 bids, the fund has approved nearly 750 applications for protection.
Some of the major successes of the fund have been acquisitions of native forests and wetlands in Okuru, close to Haast in South Westland, and areas of regenerating bush and black beech forest in Akaroa Harbour. The protection areas span the length of country, from the Paeroa-Knuckle Point Scenic Reserve (383ha) on Karikari Peninsula in Northland to the frost flats (402ha) on the Waiau River boundary of Fiordland National Park.
The NHF also works closely with local government and communities to grant protection to local areas, including the successful acquisition of Kaikoura Island, which is part of the Great Barrier Island archipelago. In 2002, the NHF joined with the New Zealand Native Forest Restoration Trust and local donors to purchase the island and develop a pest-free management plan.
The NHF has put together a book to celebrate its successes and isavailable free to anyone who emails the Nature Heritage Fund at firstname.lastname@example.org.