As part of Conservation Week (Te Wiki Tiaki Ao Tūroa), Queenstown Airport in New Zealand has expanded its long-standing relationship with the Whakatipu Reforestation Trust to include a local biodiversity planting project for three years.
The Shotover Wetlands restoration project involves native planting, predator trapping, the creation and maintenance of recreational pathways, clearance of exotic vegetation and maintenance. The wetland is home to nationally and internationally threatened plant species, including Olearia lineata (part of the tree daisy group), a threatened plant species representative of the area’s unique ecological and physical characteristics. According to the trust, approximately 2,200 native plants have been planted to date. The wetland covers 6.89ha of land east of the Kimi Akau (Shotover) River confluence and is registered as a Regionally Significant Wetland.
Queenstown Airport will provide financial and in-kind support to help the project, including a team of volunteers from the airport. The airport has partnered with the Whakatipu Reforestation Trust since 2016 to support its work on biodiversity in the district and educate the wider community about the collective opportunities available to improve native regeneration.
Sara Irvine, general manager of corporate and community affairs at Queenstown Airport, said, “Over the last year we’ve put in a considerable amount of effort and thought into our revised sustainability strategy. The sustainability strategy prioritizes three pillars – people, planet and prosperity – which focus on initiatives including reducing the airport’s operational emissions, community partnerships, the noise mitigation program and biodiversity in the region.”
Jo Smith, education officer at the Whakatipu Reforestation Trust, said, “Our dual objectives for the project are the reforestation and ecological enhancement of the wetland and providing education opportunities for Shotover Primary students, the Shotover community and for Wetland visitors from near and far. We are pleased to welcome Queenstown Airport to the project whanau [extended family] and look forward to expanding the project’s reach with their support.”
Natalie Reeves, sustainability manager at Queenstown Airport, said, “We are really excited to be working with the local community on this initiative and lending our support to build on the great work already achieved by the founding members of the project. We see this as a project with long-term benefit to enhance and restore biodiversity within the Whakatipu Basin, create resilience against a changing climate, and provide educational opportunities for our tamariki [children].”