Conservation Minister Nick Smith today launched a plan setting out the conservation priorities for New Zealand’s most
threatened native plants at a site where recovery is taking place, pest-free Moutohora (Whale) Island in the Bay of
"This plan is another step forward in our battle to turn the tide of decline in our native species. Kiwi and kakapo get
top billing in the line up of native species under threat, but there's a whole raft of plants that join them like kaka
beak, bartletts rata and tecomanthe. The threats are all similar - it's introduced pests like possums, habitat loss and
the impacts of weeds that cause most of the damage."
Conservation Requirements of New Zealand’s Nationally Threatened Vascular Plants sets out key actions needed to restore
populations of 223 of New Zealand's most threatened plants - the top 10 per cent. The document is a useful summary of
the status of these plants and includes clear diagrams.
"New Zealand has lost at least 11 plant species since humans arrived in New Zealand, and many more are under threat of
extinction. This plan only covers the tip of the iceberg of threatened plants - the top 10 per cent. Another 10 per cent
of New Zealand's 2400 native plants are under some form of threat, with another 20 per cent yet to be fully described
and some of these will definitely be under threat. The plan doesn't even touch on plants like mosses, fungi and lichens
or marine flora, which also face threats."
The restoration programme on Moutohora is a joint community exercise supported by Ngati Awa, Naturally Native New
Zealand Plants Ltd, Wildland Consultants Ltd, Fletcher Challenge Forests Ltd and the Department of Conservation. The
nine species being transferred are sand tussock, sea spurge, sand pimelea, native cucumber, New Zealand cress, tawapou,
parapara and pingao. Further threatened plants will be translocated to the island in future years, with ongoing
monitoring of recent plantings to assess establishment rates and long term survival. Moutohora has been pest-free since
"Among all the doom and gloom of statistics, we are making inroads into saving threatened species through projects like
the restoration of Moutohora Island. Today 400 plants from nine threatened coastal species are being planted on the
island. This project shows how a community can work together to make a real difference for conservation and threatened
plants in their backyard."