Tourism is now a major foreign revenue earner for New Zealand. It is one of the fastest growing industries world-wide. The projected forecast for New Zealand is huge. This may be good for the economy, but has a down side as well. New Zealand has an extremely fragile natural environment.
A great deal of the emphasis placed on attracting tourists to New Zealand is on adventure activities such as rafting, kayaking, bungee jumping, skiing and scenery. None of these things are unique to New Zealand – what is unique is our endemic flora and fauna, and sadly these are not in good shape. This uniqueness has been expressed perfectly by eminent American biologist Jared Diamond, "New Zealand is the closest we can come to studying evolution on another planet".
Bush & Beyond helps clients to appreciate these issues by gaining a deeper knowledge of the unique natural features of New Zealand. For this, we have been recognized internationally for leadership in responsible tourism.
"Community Conservationists", "Nine to Noon" host Kathryn Ryan interviews Maryann and Bill on RNZ National Radio. March 2012.
"Kiwi release red-letter day for group", a Nelson Mail article on return of kiwis to Flora Valley, May 2010.
"Return of the Native", a Nelson Mail article on Maryann and Bill's conservation achievements.
Maryann and Bill were invited to speak at the annual New Zealand Ecotourism Conference in August 2009. To read or download their talk, "Healthy ecosystems = healthy business", click here.
New Zealand was the last major landmass on earth to feel the brunt of human occupation. Humans first arrived in any numbers only 700 to 800 years ago (in contrast Australia had its first immigrants approx. 40 – 50,000 years ago). After 80 million years of isolation, New Zealand had evolved into one of the most remarkable and fragile environments on earth, a land of amazing birds and a unique endemic flora.
The Blue Duck, or whio, was once common in streams around Kahurangi National Park. However, in recent years this ancient species has been attacked nearly to extinction by introduced predators such as the stoat and rat. With aggressive volunteer-supported efforts to trap these predators, we hope is the ducks will have enough protection to breed in safety.
The destruction caused by man in the past shouldn’t be harped on if we are to move on, but we shouldn’t be afraid to tell the true story. At the turn of the 21st century, many New Zealanders are still unaware of the true state of our natural environment, and the effort being made to save what’s left, falls short of what is necessary.
We endeavour to leave our clients with a greater understanding of the need to protect what we have left of our wilderness and to encourage people to support conservation projects. Bush & Beyond founded the ‘Friends of Flora’ conservation group, which is now trapping introduced predators the Mount Arthur area. Many of Bush & Beyond clients have contributed financially to the project.
Education is the key to exposing the myths associated with New Zealand’s so called ‘Clean Green’ image. Bush & Beyond has a philosophy of not being afraid to speak the truth, but at the same time, showing people what a very special place Kahurangi National Park is.
For every client booking, Bush & Beyond will give a donation to one of three conservation projects, depending on which part of the park your trip is in -- Friends of Flora, Friends of Mangarakau, or the Cobb Valley Conservation Project.
Bush and Beyond owners Maryann and Bill founded Friends of Flora Incorporated Society in 2001, with the object of implementing a conservation strategy to bring about the protection of and/or return of endangered and threatened native flora and fauna of the Flora catchment area in Kahurangi National Park. The society now (in 2012) has approximately 65 kilometres of predator trap lines, with all traps at 100 metre spacing. With adjoining trap lines installed by the Department of Conservation and Bush and Beyond's own programme in the Cobb Valley, a total of 97 kilometres of trap lines now protect approximately 7,200 hectares. This is one of the largest projects of its kind in New Zealand.
Bird monitoring is also part of the society's programme. The success of FoF can be measured by the reintroduction of the blue duck (whio) and great spotted kiwi (Roroa) into the Flora area.
For further information contact Friends of Flora, www.fof.org.nz, or Bill Rooke (secretary) care of Bush & Beyond.
Bush & Beyond’s own conservation project is in the Cobb Valley. The Valley sits at an altitude of 900 metres and is a classic glacially formed ‘U’ shaped valley.
This project is financed by Bush & Beyond. The lines are maintained by our staff and friends.
In 2012 our trap lines cover 21 hectares, protecting the northern boundary of the combined DOC, FoF, and B&B project.
Stoats are introduced predators which are destroying our native bird life. The Cobb trap line is intended to protect all native birds, but especially our larger parrots, kea and kaka, and also falcon, which are struggling to survive. There are recent signs that great spotted kiwi may be venturing back into this area, and their young need protection to be able to grow to adulthood. A 'great spot' will only be able to survive a fight from a stoat once it reaches a certain weight, which is around 6 months of age.
As a part of this project we are collecting bird monitoring data, so as to keep an eye on the numbers of birds – hopefully to see a rise in numbers over time.
On all Bush and Beyond trips into this area, we show this project in action to our clients. Only trained staff carry out the trap work, but clients are encouraged to participate in the bird monitoring, both in listening and hearing, and also the filling in of the monitoring data sheets.