This is a good environment story.  The Abel Tasman National Park (ATNP) is located at the top of the South Island and comprises 22,000 hectares.  It received 300,000 visitors in 2017, the highest of any NZ National Park.  Seven years ago a group of Trustees who were concerned about the environmental degradation of the parks flora and fauna, embarked on a 20 year restoration project called Project Janszoon, otherwise known as PJZ (Abel Tasman’s middle name was Janszoon), in conjunction with the Department of Conservation and multimillion dollar funding from Annette and Neal Plowman.
 
Did you know that introduced predators kill an estimated 68,000 native birds in NZ every day?
 
We set about to change that in the ATNP through a combination of bait drops, DoC traps, and  self-setting traps.  To date we have killed 37,000 rats, 1800 stoats, 300 weasels and counting.  We have introduced new birdlife to the park - 35 Kaka, 54 Kakariki, 230 Pateke/brown teal ducks, 1saddleback, (to name a few).  The birdlife has returned in abundance.  In the words of a senior Doc hut warden. “If you can see the birdlife that has come back in 5 years, can you imagine what it’ll be like in 30 years – you’ll be tripping over them”.  The park was also becoming infested with wilding pines. They have all been poisoned and we have planted 43,000 native trees including 500 rata.  For more information regarding this amazing project, go to  www.janszoon.org
 
The local schools have been fully engaged with each adopting a section of the park and using it for school projects.  Every time we have the release of native birds the children are asked to  set them free from their carrying cages. There is always great excitement.
 
We will know we have succeeded when we have:
  • Biodiversity values in the park are no longer threatened
  • Populations of key indicator species of birds, animals and plants show favourable trends
  • Strong community interest (which we have achieved)
  • Visitors to the Park applaud an outstanding conservation success
  • The model created by this project is being surpassed in other parts of NZ.
 
We aim to complete the restoration by 2042 – in time for the 400th Anniversary of Tasman’s visit to Golden Bay.
 
Barrie Brown
Trustee- Project Janszoon