Foxton wildlife centre seeks support
Why would Foxton be an ideal place for a wildlife centre?
It was a question to carefully consider before establishing the Wildlife Foxton Trust.
New Zealand has a fascinating variety of native fish, birds, reptiles and insects. However, it is important to know the difference between introduced and native species, especially as many introduced species are predators. Having an environment linked education centre for people of all ages is one way of meeting this need.
As many of our native species are endangered, the trust is also working on breeding-for-release-backinto-the-wild in an attempt to preserve our unique species.
So, we decided to establish a centre to show native fish, crustacea, insects and molluscs from the mountain to the sea; a free-flight aviary to highlight our native birds; and a place to display our fascinating range of reptiles – New Zealand is home to more than 90 species of lizard.
And there are good reasons for having a centre like this in Foxton.
Foxton is home to the internationally recognised Ramsar site in the Manawatu Estuary. This unique area hosts about 95 different species of birds some of which like the godwit, use it as a temporary home before flying off to Siberia. Ninetyeight per cent of Manawatu’s wetlands no longer exist, making the area especially important.
Manawatu’s original gateway port and once the heart of a thriving flax industry, Foxton has a number of interesting museums including the Flax Museum and MavTech – which houses the largest collection of audiovisual equipment in the southern hemisphere with movies and music dating back to before WW2.
The site for the Wildlife Foxton centre on the river loop at the corner of Main, Union and Harbour streets, is based around commercial buildings in a large expanse of concrete. Picture instead a tree-covered plaza, walk-in aviaries, terrariums (for the lizards), large aquariums, a cafe and gift shop.
The centre will help Foxton become a ‘destination’ for visitors from home and abroad.
The Trustees of Wildlife Foxton Trust, (left to right) John Girling, John Baird, Graham Carthew, Alastair Cole and Dr. Bob Hoskins [absent is John Bradley], and the boat donated to the community by the Easton family and shared with Save Our River Trust (SORT) and the Manawatu Estuary Trust.