Almost 70% of New Zealand is privately owned and is therefore a cause of and a threat to further decline of biodiversity (QEII National Trust; qeiinationaltrust.org.nz). Protecting biodiversity and heritage on private land is critical to flatt linning or reversing the decline of indigenous biodiversity. For the protection of vegetation, and animal and plant pest control, covenanting land is one way in which these biodiversity values are protected and enhanced. As of 2018, 21% of Aucklands land area is protected as covenants (C. Fredrickson; Land Covenants in Auckland and Their Effect on Urban Development). Within the agreement, property owners hold responsibility to maintain the ecosystem health within the covenant. Te Ngahere has engaged with property owners in the Mahurangi area to provide an up to date ecological assessment and management recommendations for their covenanted bush.
The purpose of the programme has been to;
We engaged with property owners face to face and provided a detailed report on the state of their covenant, alerting them to problem areas, providing advice of best practice weed control methods and also installing some pride in property owners with outstanding covenants. We found that the vast majority of property owners were passionate about the maintaining their covenant to a high standard. In some instances, we were able to show them some rare native or endemic plant species present on their property.