IWITAHI NATIVE ORCHID HERITAGE PROTECTION AREA
Iwitahi Native Orchid Heritage Protection Area is a "very special place"!
Strangely enough, it consists of 14.3 hectares of Pinus nigra in the Kaingaroa forest, along the Taupo-Napier Road. The reason this bunch of pine trees is protected under a Heritage Protection Order, is due to the astounding list of 30+ species of New Zealand native orchids growing there.
Nowhere else in the country is it possible to see so many different species and varieties in one place, some of which flower in their thousands! Included in the list are 1 endangered species, one classified as "vulnerable" and the rare Chiloglottis valida. This is the only known site of this particular orchid in the North Island. As the ground cover of dense pine needles encourages fungal growth to create a perfect habitat, native orchids from elsewhere deemed to need active protection (such as Townsonia deflexa and Chiloglottis trapeziformis) have been relocated into the area.
Discovery of a large number of native species in the 1980's and the later finding of Chiloglottis valida lead to current H.P.A status being offered in February, 1993. Since then, the area has been managed by a committee. The work there has largely been thanks to the helpful efforts of volunteers organised by the tireless Trevor Nicholls of Taupo, who has also worked with the forest owners to achieve its protected status. Recently the committee has updated a management plan to ensure the continued success of the area.
The main jobs that require funding and volunteer labour are: baiting for feral pests such as possums, weeding, monitoring and surveying plant colonies as they expand, and digging holes in readiness for the replanting of young pine trees. These holes need to be dug six to twelve months in advance for the Pinus nigra seedlings to survive and continue to provide the unique and essential habitat in which the orchids thrive. Volunteers range from the Rangitaiki School children, to environmental groups like Forest & Bird, to local supporters and even overseas visitors who are keen to do their part!
In 2004 we applied to Environment Bay of Plenty for a funding which was excepted, it would help us greatly in managing the reserve.
The money help us greatly in ways that would have been imposable with out funding.
A big part of the reserve needed to be cleared of scrub which was taking over the under
storey of the forest. We used a local Nursery who has a very good knowledge of native flora
for this job.
We would like the thank EBOP for their support.
Click on species to view image