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Watch NZH Focus: Subdivision or wildlife reserve?

Thirty-seven hectares of native bush and wetlands are up for grabs in Bethell's Valley west of Auckland, and local environmentalists are keen to buy it and connect Matuku Reserve, the Habitat Tahini project and the Ark in the Park.

John Staniland manages the Matuku Reserve and is leading the campaign to save the 'Matuku Link'. "This land purchase will enable the wildlife from the Ark in the Park to connect with the rest of the valley, both directions. It will also allow the access for the people to come onto the land and enjoy the wildlife and the wetland."

Wetlands are the most endangered habitat in New Zealand and the Matuku Link is part of the largest wetland in the Auckland region. John has identified rare endangered native birds in the area.

"The Matuku, which the reserve is named after, or Bittern, the Spotless Crake, the Fernbird, possibly the Marsh Crake and many others. So it is a really special environment that needs protecting. And this block has land at the head that is wetland."

The owners want $2m for this prime land and according to Matuku Link Trustee, Geoff Davidson they have a good chance of meeting that target having raised a million dollars already.

"We're okay for the first half but we still need the second bit, which is why we're doing the give-a-little fund campaign. We need 2 million dollars in total. If we can achieve that, it'll be wondrous and the extra parkland will be enjoyed by the people of Auckland for a long time."

Geoff Davidson and his supporters did ask Auckland Council for funding, but it rejected their proposal, saying it didn't meet their funding criteria.

The Matuku Link Givealittle page is -

- NZ Herald

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