Brook Waimārama Sanctuary

Whakatū Nelson is home to many native species, some of which are classified as endangered or threatened.

Nelson green gecko/Starred gecko: Photo credit - Samantha King

Predator Free New Zealand Trust currently estimates that 74% of New Zealand’s native birds and 84% of our native reptile species are threatened or at risk of extinction, and more than 25 million native birds are killed each year by non-native predators, such as possums, hedgehogs, mustelids (ferrets, stoats, weasels) and rats.

Nelson City Council has a range of programmes that work to restore threatened habitat and control pests around our region, and is proud to extend this vital work as a strategic supporter of The Brook Waimārama Sanctuary.

The Brook Waimārama Sanctuary is a 700 ha pest-free haven located on the outskirts of Whakatū Nelson. The Sanctuary is the largest of its kind in the South Island and the second largest in the country; it is the only sanctuary to feature mature New Zealand beech forest.

The idea of The Brook Waimārama Sanctuary was launched in 2004, with construction of a visitor centre being completed in 2007, a 14.4km predator-proof fence installed in 2016, and a pest eradication operation undertaken in 2017. Nelson City Council has supported the Sanctuary along the way with funding of $1,036,000 towards the fence construction, annual operational funding of $160,000, and by leasing Council-owned land to The Brook Waimārama Sanctuary Trust for the Sanctuary.

The Brook Waimārama Sanctuary has synergies with Nelson City Council’s Nelson Nature biodiversity programme and provides opportunities for collaboration, for example on the Halo project surrounding the Sanctuary.

The Nelson Halo project is a joint effort involving Council’s Nelson Nature programme, Department of Conservation, community groups and private landowners to coordinate predator control and habitat restoration in an area called the ‘Nelson Halo’ that includes most of the areas within the Nelson Whakatū region that are outside of The Brook Waimārama Sanctuary, stretching from Wakapuaka in the north, east to the Richmond Range and south to the Tasman district border.

The goal for the Halo is to provide an area of predator control and habitat enhancement outside the predator-free Brook Waimārama Sanctuary by creating a safe haven for wildlife in the areas between the Sanctuary, the City, and the hinterland. As numbers of birds and other species increase within the Sanctuary, they will ‘spill over’ into the surrounding area, and a Halo provides areas to forage and breed safely.

In addition to funding provided by Council, Nelson City Council works with the Sanctuary through Jobs for Nature to support staff employed through Department of Conservation-funded Project Mahitahi, as well as providing in-kind resourcing.

kākāriki karaka (orange-fronted parakeet) have recently been introduced into the Sanctuary