The area is home to hundreds of native plants and threatened wildlife including kiwi, hihi (stitchbird), tieke (saddleback), popokatea (whitehead) and toutouwai (North Island robin). Simon says the populations of these species are increasing and thriving, and not just within the reserve.
“We have what we call a ‘halo’ area around the reserve and the wildlife isn’t just confined to the sanctuary. It’s overflowing into the surrounding environment, bringing nature back to the community and farms that border the area.”
The Trust’s restoration work also includes key social elements. The lake is popular with water skiers in the summer and local schools hold field trips to the reserve to help teach the next generation about the importance of protecting the environment.
“Just as the reserve is important for the wellbeing of the birds and other wildlife, it’s also important for the wellbeing of our community”, says Simon. “We have between 200 and 300 people volunteering each year, and we consider ourselves a family, looking after the environment and each other.”
For more information on the Trust and the sanctuary visit www.rotokare.org.nz, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (06) 7648500.