Golf in par­adise

Go Travel New Zealand - - Taupo -

Wairakei Golf + Sanc­tu­ary has grown from strength to strength since it opened in 2011. Auck­land busi­ness man Gary Lane, who runs and owns the park which is part of the Wairakei Golf Course near Taupo, said he de­cided to open the sanc­tu­ary as the op­por­tu­nity to work with DOC to use it as a safe haven for threat­ened na­tive species like kiwi was very re­ward­ing. Gary Lane said the idea to cre­ate the sanc­tu­ary came on the iconic 180 ha golf course prop­erty was sparked by an ar­ti­cle he read that said 95% of kiwi born in the wild were likely to be killed by stoats, weasels and other preda­tors. “The ob­jec­tive has been to pro­vide an en­vi­ron­ment where kiwi and other threat­ened species can grow and sur­vive and I feel priv­i­leged to re­ceive the first two kiwi to Wairakei,” he says. In 2012, an agree­ment was es­tab­lished be­tween Wairakei Golf + Sanc­tu­ary and the Depart­ment of Con­ser­va­tion to work co­op­er­a­tively to­gether to make the most of con­ser­va­tion and restora­tion op­por­tu­ni­ties within the sanc­tu­ary. That in­cludes us­ing the preda­tor free en­vi­ron­ment as a crèche for kiwi chicks, a safe place for them to "find their feet" and grow. As part of the devel­op­ment, round 25,000 na­tive trees and 5000 thou­sand ex­otic trees have been planted to en­cour­age bird life and fur­ther en­hance the park-like sur­round­ings. Two hun­dred mixed colour pheas­ant have also been re­leased on to the golf course prop­erty. The 5km long Xcluder fence, erected around the sanc­tu­ary, is de­signed to keep out preda­tors like rats, mice, stoats, weasels, hedge­hogs, feral cats and pos­sums. A small herd of around 15 fal­low deer and a stag are be­ing reared on site, within a deer fenced area.

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