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Landcorp Sweetwater Station

Farm management improved by protecting wetlands with QEII covenants

Over fifty landowners in the Far North were acknowledged by QEII Trust on Wednesday 23 July for their commitment to protecting natural features on their land with QEII covenants.

Along with council staff and others involved with QEII Trust, Far North covenantors were invited to Landcorp’s Sweetwater Station west of Kaitaia for a tour of protected wetlands on the property.

Landcorp Sweetwater Station Windmill Lake

The 2,460 hectare Sweetwater Station has three dairy farms with 3,000 milking cows plus 2,000 cattle on the hills.

Landcorp has recently protected 282 hectares of wetlands and dune lakes on the station with QEII open space covenants, including the 129 hectare Tangonge Wetland.

'QEII covenantors in the Far North now protect 4,500 hectares with 150 QEII covenants,' said Yvonne Sharp, Acting QEII Trust Chairperson.

'QEII covenants are voluntary but once in place they protect these special areas forever.

'Private property rights are not jeopardised by a covenant as the landowner retains ownership of the land and continues to control access.

'It is wonderful to work with the dedicated landowners who are protecting our unique habitats and features for the benefit of future generations.'

Yvonne Sharp and Gerry Soanes open the Sweetwater Station covenantsRight: Yvonne Sharp, Acting QEII Trust Chairperson, and Gerry Soanes, Landcorp National Manager Property, open the Sweetwater Station QEII covenants that protect 282 hectares of wetlands and dune lakes.

Greg Blunden, Far North QEII Regional Representative, said QEII covenants are ideal for protecting natural features and native species habitats.

'Wetlands, forest remnants and coastal landscapes are just some of the areas protected in the Far North,' he said.

'Kiwi habitats add an extra layer to the features protected on private land in this region.

'The Trust also appreciates the contributions from the Northland Regional Council for protection and the ecological expertise provided by Department of Conservation staff.'

Gerry Soanes with QEII directors at Sweetwater Station

Right: Gerry Soanes with QEII directors, Bernard Card and James Hunter, at Sweetwater Station.

Mark Johnson, Sweetwater Station Farm Business Manager, said that retiring the wetlands and fencing them off has improved farm management.

'Protecting the wetlands and dune lakes has improved water quality,’ he said.

'As the cows cannot now access the wetlands, they are less subject to liver fluke.

'They also cannot swim through the lakes to gain access to other feeding areas.'

Mark added Landcorp is quite happy for people to visit the wetlands provided they arrange this beforehand with the Sweetwater office on 09 406 7418 or email them.

QEII directors, covenantors and Mark Johnson

Above: On the left, QEII directors Yvonne Sharp and Jo Ritchie, with QEII covenantors and Mark Johnson, Sweetwater Station Farm Business Manager, on the right.

Landcorp Sweetwater Station Windmill Lake

Above: Windmill Lake on Sweetwater Station consists of two connected dune lakes, one a dry manuka wetland with dune hollows and the other an open water reed lake. Twenty separate dune lakes on Sweetwater Dairy 1 Unit on the station are now protected with a 44 hectare QEII covenant by Landcorp

Wendy Macpherson has two forest covenants protecting kiwi habitat on the family farm in Pamapuria.

'I think covenanting is wonderful,' she said. "It was interesting to see the different type of habitat protected on Sweetwater Station.

'I’m happy knowing our two areas of virgin native bush are protected with QEII covenants in perpetuity.

'Covenanting is our legacy.'

QEII covenantors look over Windmill Lake on Sweetwater Station

Above: Far North QEII covenantors took the opportunity to look over Windmill Lake that is protected by Landcorp with a QEII covenant in perpetuity on Sweetwater Station.

Published 28 July 2008

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