Dunedin has its Town Belt – established in 1855, but that was 15 years after Wellington’s three times larger Town Belt – and over the last nearly 30 years we’ve progressively created our fabulous, much larger, Outer Green Belt
Dunedin’s Orakanui is a special fenced sanctuary, but it and other fenced sanctuaries followed and were inspired by Wellington’s pioneering, world-leading Zealandia.
It’s also Zealandia which has just undertaken New Zealand’s largest pest fish eradication project led by outstanding science and careful preparation. It’s Zealandia which has around 600 volunteers and 16,000 members which is an outstanding reflection of the community spirit the awards are all about.
“Our urban restoration journey is rightly world famous for its reintroduction of native birds and the return of the dawn chorus to Wellington. Once absent kaka and kereru are daily sights across our city,” adds the Mayor.
“This week New Zealand’s smallest bird has been sighted on Te Ahūmairangi Hill in Wellington City. Possibly the first time that titipounamu/rifleman have been present in the area for over 100 years.
“Predator Free Wellington is absolutely world leading too. We are on a journey to become the first predator free city in the world – aiming for zero possums, rats and mustelids. The Miramar peninsula is close to becoming the first urban area in the world to eliminate rats – and possums and mustelids have already been eradicated.
“Over 3000 Miramar households have hosted traps in this project. Already 2,500 households have signed up to the next stage of our Predator Free journey as it moves across our City.
Citywide our community is absolutely meeting the award requirement to demonstrate community spirit in this mahi. Every suburb has a predator free group, with thousands of householders involved, 9,500 traps registered and 74,000 pests trapped so far. In thirty years, Wellington has gone from two community groups helping look after city reserves to around 140, and we’ve just planted our two millionth tree in our restoration work.