Press Release – Auckland Council
Shakespear Regional Park reopens to the public on Thursday after a five-month closure for animal pest eradication, but the gates will stay closed to pests.
A 1.75 kilometre pest-proof fence that spans the Whangaparaoa peninsula will keep pests like rats, cats, rabbits, hedgehogs, possums, stoats and weasels out, and allow visitors in, through carefully controlled automatic gates.
Councillor Sandra Coney, chair of the Auckland Council Parks, Recreation and Heritage Forum, says this is a long-awaited day for fans of Shakespear Regional Park and reminds visitors to check their gear for stowaways before heading to the park.
“The biggest difference people will notice are the new automatic gates that open and close to let visitors and pedestrians in, and keep pests out.
“The fence and gates are a reminder that you are entering an open sanctuary and that you should have checked your bags, camping gear and trailers for any stowaway pests before leaving home,” she says.
Shakespear Open Sanctuary Society Inc (SOSSI) Chair Allan Parker says SOSSI members and park volunteers have been hard at work while the park has been closed.
“SOSSI’s expanded native plant nursery is complete and we will be producing 10-13,000 plants each year for the sanctuary’s revegetation programme.
“Volunteers have also been working on a wonderful piece of interpretation at Waterfall Gully that tells the story of the open sanctuary; we’re delighted to be able to finally show all this hard work off to the public,” he says.
Auckland Council continues to work with park neighbours and partners, the New Zealand Defence Force, Watercare and YMCA Shakespear Lodge, as well as the Shakespear Open Sanctuary Society Inc, the Hibiscus and Bays Local Board and a number of dedicated park volunteers, and is grateful for their support.
“We still have a lot of work ahead of us to make the park completely pest free and a safe haven for treasured native species, but we couldn’t have got to this point without the support of our partners, our neighbours, SOSSI and the park volunteers,” says Cr Coney.
For more information about Shakespear Open Sanctuary go to www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/regionalparks or www.sossi.org.nz
• All the things people are used to doing at Shakespear, like swimming, picnicking, walking, mountain biking and camping, will still be possible when the park reopens.
• A long-term monitoring and surveillance programme, including traps and tracking tunnels, is in place.
• Over time, species are expected to regenerate and flourish in a pest-free environment and others return to the park of their own accord. Hopefully bellbirds, kakariki and pateke will make their way across the Gulf from nearby Tiritiri Matangi Island.
• Planning for the reintroduction of absent species like kiwi, robins and whiteheads will hopefully begin in around a year and the first bird translocation might take place in spring 2013.
• Livestock have been returned to the park.
• Peacocks and peahens that were temporarily re-homed during the park closure will be returning to Shakespear soon.