Contract awarded to re-vegetate forest site with native species

The site of the former Coronet Forest. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
The site of the former Coronet Forest. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Te Tapu o Tāne and e3Scientific Ltd have been awarded a major contract to recloak the Coronet Forest site, a project expected to take up to seven years.

Queenstown Lakes District Council community services general manager Ken Bailey said the forest, between Arthurs Point and Arrowtown, was harvested between January 2020 and May last year, during which more than 90,0000 tonnes of timber was removed, and with it a major wilding source.

The plan was to return native species, including tawhai rauriki (mountain beach), kōwhai, kōhūhū (pittosporum) and kapuka (broadleaf) to the forest to help restore the biodiversity values.

Te Tapu o Tāne chief executive Jana Davis said it was a very special announcement for the organisation on behalf of Ngāi Tahu kī Murihiku and she acknowledged Kāi Tahu ki Otago for all its support.

"The Coronet Forest kaupapa is all about building on the partnership between QLDC, mana whenua, Te Tapu o Tāne and Citycare Property, as well as the kaimahi at e3Scientific.

"On behalf of all our partners it is a privilege to be delivering this kaupapa for our hometown and building the Wakatipu Basin towards a deafening dawn chorus of taonga manu [native birds] and providing access to the largest indigenous reforestation project in the history of the basin."

The project would also provide opportunities to support regional development, including local employment and training.

There would be several workshops over the next year as the team readied the site to come alive with eco-sourced trees and plants and scaled-up intensive pest control, Mr Davis said.

‘It’s going to be great seeing the new direction for the maunga [mountain]," he said.

Managing director of e3Scientific Glenn Davis said the forest stood on the shoulders of a significant network of ecological restoration work which had developed in the district over the past 20 years.

"These projects have provided the ecological community with the skills, expertise and confidence to reinstate local biodiversity at a landscape scale.

"The role of e3Scientific is to bring together and impart the knowledge we have gained to maximise the performance of the plantings and ensure that the project leads the delivery of large-scale ecological restoration in Aotearoa New Zealand."

Native planting was expected to start next March, he said.