Punakaiki Coast, South Island, New Zealand

Land Management

Punakaiki Restoration Project

Situated on the west coast of the South Island, the Punakaiki Restoration Project aims to make a positive and lasting impact on the social, economic and environmental values of this unique location. Through the combined efforts of everyone involved, the project is helping to:

  • Restore the biodiversity of the area
  • Develop an education and knowledge base to support species protection
  • Strengthen community networks
  • Build the capacity of community partners to engage with and use the site
  • Provide a ‘new heritage’ of enhanced conservation land for the benefit of future generations
  • Create employment opportunities within the local community

The project sites cover two main areas; the first [established in 2007] borders the Westland Petrel Special Protected Area, located in the foothills of the Paparoa Ranges. This is the only breeding colony for the Westland Petrel (tāiko), a species of petrel whose presence was first discovered by students from the local Barrytown school in the late 1940s.

To the south, the project is bounded by the Nikau Scenic Reserve, a small but important remnant of the sand plain forest that once covered the area. The site itself contains some small forest remnants including a large stand of nikau palms, as well as an ecologically diverse wetland area adjacent to the scenic reserve.

The restoration activities Conservation Volunteers are undertaking on this site will see a significant extension of this remnant, providing a now rare corridor of native forest from mountain to sea. At the same time, the planting is designed to enhance the protection of the Westland Petrel’s breeding habitat.  Since 2008, more than 200,000 native trees have been planted over 75 hectares. The site was previously owned by Rio Tinto Ltd and gifted back to the community and gazetted as a Nature Reserve in 2007.

The second primary site is at Bullock Creek situated approximately 2kms north of the Punakaiki village. Planting commenced here in 2020, and will continue for many years. The site is retired farmland and is the entrance to several walks including Cave Creek.

The Punakaiki Restoration Project is a collaborative effort involving government and community organisations pooling their resources to deliver significant environmental and community benefits. The project partners are the Department of Conservation, Conservation Volunteers New Zealand. the Ministry for Social Development and the Ministry for Primary Industries.


Australian Land Management Projects

Conservation Volunteers has considerable experiencing with its land management projects in Australia, including: