Conservation Park Tui Nature Reserve
Tui Nature Reserve is made up of 42 hectares of mature and regenerating native bush, located in the Outer Pelorus, in the Marlborough Sounds on New Zealand's South Island. Thirty-eight hectares are legally protected as part of the Queen Elizabeth II National Trust, thus ensuring preservation for generations to come. As part of a peninsula with no road access, the reserve has become one of New Zealand's few 'mainland island’ sanctuaries.
For years we’ve worked on a shared vision with our neighbours, Sealife Trust, to establish a hooved animal fence to isolate the peninsula from pigs and goats. After 3 years we’ve finished the 3 km long fence which is protecting about 80 hectares of land.
Our poison-free pest management scheme is having a positive impact on the restoration of the native habitat and its wildlife. Especially the Kohe Kohe tree, which was once a dominant tree in the Marlborough Sounds but now threatened by browsing of possums. The bird life also shows a huge improvement and they are successfully breeding again.
In 2014 we received funding from the Biodiversity Fund, WWF Tindall Foundation and the Council, to greatly extend the rat control programme. The trapping grids were upgraded with self-re-setting traps (A24, Goodnature). Our monitoring programme has shown some excellent results in 2015, bringing rodents down to less than 5% predator tracking rate. At this stage we are looking at a final blow with the latest high-tech technologies that will be trialled in 2019. This “experiment” can be a huge step forward for the restoration work in NZ.
With funding from the Lottery Board and Rata Foundation, we’ve been breeding ‘breeding for release’ programme for the Yellow Crowned Kakariki, Cook Straight Giant Weta and the Common Gecko at Tui Nature Reserve, for the past 10 years. In 2017 we built a new project on the mainland in Linkwater, Picton, to enable us to carry out advocacy work for visitors and schools, and have better links with community projects/initiatives and other related parties. The project, called ‘Koru Native Wildlife Centre’, has been sponsored by NZ King Salmon Ltd, and opened the doors to the public in 2018. The species’ have settled in well, with 3 breeding Kakariki pairs and the Giant Weta also content in their new mouse-proof enclosures.
The trust is currently working on a nocturnal building for weta at Koru Centre, this will give viewers a rare insight of these ancient giant creatures while they are active. We are also working on a school programme to show endangered species to students and explain the need to protect them from predators and habitat loss.
A selection of images of Tui nature Reserve, click to enlarge: