$4.5m pledged for Aoraki/Mount Cook conservation

1:26 pm on 2 November 2018

More funding has been announced to make Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park and the upper Mackenzie Basin predator free.

Lake Matheson, Mount Tasman and Mount Cook seen from Westland Tai Poutini National Park.

File photo. Photo: AFP / Robert Harding Premium

Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage has pledged $4.5 million over three years to extend protection for threatened species and to test predator control techniques.

The money was being provided by Department of Conservation, the philanthropic Next Foundation, and a range of conservation groups.

It was part of a 20-year project tagged Te Manahuna Aoraki, that would involve DoC, South Island rūnanga, high country landholders and various local and international conservation groups.

The project would use natural barriers such as 3000 metre peaks, ridgelines and waterways to prevent the re-invasion of predators including rats, possums and stoats.

Ms Sage paid tribute to DoC workers Scott Theobald, Paul Hondelink and pilot Nick Wallis, who died in a helicopter crash a fortnight ago, noting that Mr Theobold played an important role in the Te Manahuna Aoraki restoration project.

"All three men were committed to conservation and pioneers in their fields. Scott's knowledge and advice regarding control of black-backed gulls and rabbits, and his expertise in the construction of the robust grasshopper protection fence will be remembered always as Te Manahuna Aoraki is brought to life," Ms Sage said.