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Community invite for Te Arai progress


Development company, Darby Partners who are involved with the controversial Te Arai North development, are extending an invite to the community to be involved with the ongoing native vegetation programme.

“We welcome any person interested in participating,” Darby Partners spokesman, Peter Whiting says.

“The work is part of a comprehensive ecological enhancement programme… to enhance the coastal reserve at Te Arai North. So far we have been removing exotic pine trees, establishing natural habitat and vegetation cover, protecting foredunes and restoring ground-water and surface-water flows to maintain and enhance large areas of wetlands.”

In a recently released update, Darby Partners showed that to date over a million native trees and plants have been established at Te Arai with over 150,000 additional plants still to be added within the reserve.

The revegetation programme has already begun with the preparation ground work underway and the final native planting will take approximately a week to complete.

Te Arai North Limited intends holding an open day where members of the community will be given a guided tour of the ‘enhanced ecological diversity being recreated within the Te Arai dune system and the work that entails.’

“As a result of several years of work undertaken at Te Arai North, the property is transitioning from an unsustainable pine forest to an enhanced conservation, ecological and recreation area,” Whiting says. “Alongside some limited house sites, a 200 hectare coastal reserve… rid of exotic species and planted in native vegetation, is being established at Te Arai North.”

“This public reserve will protect Te Arai beach in perpetuity, along with access to it. It is adjacent to existing reserve areas at Te Arai Point and the Mangawhai Wildlife Refuge. The connecting area will be a significant environmental, ecological and recreational asset for the wider community, for generations to come.”
14 MF-TeAraiwetlands concept picture-547Coastal Reserve Wetland Restoration

The work in the coastal reserve area is being undertaken to enhance significant ecological values of the area.

A historical forestry track (known as Marsden Road) containing gravel and base-course had built up over decades during commercial forestry at Te Arai, which was previously known as Mangawhai North Forest.

Marsden Road ran along the front of the forest and created a dam impeding natural surface and ground water flows. For decades the forest acted as a sponge absorbing the groundwater. It was only with the removal of the pine trees that the dam effect of Marsden Road became apparent when ground water and surface water began to flow again.

The work now underway is designed to restore the natural groundwater flows in order to sustain backdune wetlands. This is significantly enhancing the ecology of the area, particularly for birdlife. The works to date are the initial works. The Marsden Road forestry track and surrounding area is comprised of a mixture of sand and gravel that had been built up over the decades.

The next stage is reinstating the area to a more natural contour i.e. how it was before Marsden Road was established, using the sand within the reserve recently stockpiled there. Once completed the entire coastal reserve, including dunes and wetlands, will be revegetated to a state not seen over Te Arai North’s fifty years as a commercial pine forest.

ENHANCED: An illustration of how the coastal reserve may appear once the natural contours have been restored and wetlands enhanced after the removal of the Marsden Road forestry track.

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