Pest-free regional park new safe haven for gulf birds

Allan Parker, chairman of the Shakespear Open Sanctuary Society. Photo / Martin Sykes
Allan Parker, chairman of the Shakespear Open Sanctuary Society. Photo / Martin Sykes

A pest-free Shakespear Regional Park opens its gates yesterday as Auckland's second open sanctuary.

The park has been closed for the past five months to eradicate animal pests, the final step to the Whangaparaoa park joining Tawharanui as an open sanctuary.

The plan is to create a safe haven for birds migrating into Auckland from Hauraki Gulf islands, such as Tiritiri Matangi and Little Barrier.

A 1.75km pest-proof fence will keep out pests like rats, cats, rabbits, hedgehogs, possums, stoats and weasels. Visitors will enter through controlled gates.

Auckland Council parks, recreation and heritage forum chairwoman Sandra Coney said it was a long-awaited day for regular visitors.

Shakespear Open Sanctuary Society chairman Allan Parker said members and volunteers had been hard at work while the park had been closed.

"SOSSI's expanded native plant nursery is complete and we will be producing 10,000 to 13,000 plants each year for the sanctuary's revegetation programme," he said.

"Volunteers have also been working on a wonderful piece of interpretation at Waterfall Gully that tells the story of the open sanctuary; we're delighted to be able to finally show all this hard work off to the public."

- APNZ

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