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Abel Tasman anniversaries marked

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Today marks the anniversary of two significant events in New Zealand’s cultural and natural heritage - the visit of Dutch explorer Abel Tasman in 1642, and the creation of the national park which bears his name 300 years later, Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage says.

At Onetahua Marae today, Ms Sage represented the Government at the launch of First Encounters 375, a series of events in Golden Bay this month marking both anniversaries.

"When Abel Tasman’s ships came into Golden Bay/Mohua they were the first Europeans to visit Aotearoa New Zealand and encounter Māori. Cultural misunderstanding between the Dutch sailors and the Ngāti Tumatakokiri people, who were resident in the area, led to the deaths of four sailors," Ms Sage says.

"Today we can celebrate collaboration between tangata whenua and those descended from European and other nationalities to protect New Zealand’s natural heritage.

"Golden Bay’s manawhenua iwi Ngāti Rārua, Te Ātiawa and Ngāti Tama are working with the Department of Conservation (DOC) to protect and enhance the park and tell the story of its cultural and natural heritage, including at the Abel Tasman National Monument between Pohara Beach and Ligar Bay and at Te WaikoropupÅ« Springs.

"New Zealand owes the existence of Abel Tasman National Park to the inspirational conservationist Perrine Moncrieff, whose public campaign to protect the Nelson coast from logging led directly to its creation in 1942 under Prime Minister Peter Fraser.

"Initially the park protected about 15,000 hectares, but with additions now covers more than 22,500 hectares. It is our smallest national park, albeit one enjoyed by 350,000 visitors a year."

Ms Sage paid tribute to the ongoing work between DOC and other partners, including the Abel Tasman Birdsong Trust and Project Janszoon, to help restore the park’s ecology.

"The Birdsong Trust has led control of wilding pines and carries out pest control to protect native species on park mainland and islands, while Project Janszoon has undertaken pest control, planting programmes and helped reintroduce native species such as kākā, kākāriki and pāteke/brown teal.

"In addition, Air New Zealand funds a biodiversity project in the north of the park, including around Totaranui campground, with a trapping network covering more than 2600 hectares."

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