Otago Daily Times

Native forest restoratio­n draws a crowd

OTATARA

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Trust chairman Tim Oliver said it was a big call to buy the land, but the family of the previous owner wanted it to be restored.

‘‘There really appeared to be no other group able to make the decision in the short time available.’’

About $400,000 was given to the trust to go towards the purchase, of $810,000 raised for the $1.5 million property.

Otatara resident Russell Erskine, who died in April this year, gave $50,000.

‘‘That gave us huge encouragem­ent to carry on,’’ Mr Oliver said.

Mr Erskine’s grandson, Tim, was helping with pest control.

Mr Oliver said he and founding trustee Geoff Davidson were astounded by the growth and regenerati­on since they were at the property in March.

As well as donations, carbon credits helped with buying properties such as the Otatara one, Mr Davidson said.

The trust accrued credits from its properties, such as its Rimutaka reserve in the North Island.

Honorary ranger Maurice Rodway helped oversee the Otatara forest’s restoratio­n.

The land was permanentl­y protected through the Queen Elizabeth II National Trust, meaning it could never be harvested, cleared or developed.

The property’s totara forest on sand dunes is valuable from a conservati­on perspectiv­e, as it is classified as nationally endangered.

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