Construction can work hand in hand with conservation

The construction of a marina on Waiheke Island recently made the news for all the wrong reasons. This was a case of construction proceeding without due recognition of the effect on the native fauna and flora and getting all parties aligned on the mitigation measures specified in the consent to allow the development to proceed.


Photo credits Steph Kirk

Contrast this with a recent rehoming of 40 native copper skinks on the Takitimu North Link Project in Tauranga, being constructed by Waka Kotahi, New Zealand Transport Authority. This project is being constructed by a joint venture of Fulton Hogan and HEB, both well-established contractors in New Zealand and the Bay of Plenty who are invested in the local

community. Waka Kotahi spent the time working through the effects of the construction of this 6.8km expressway section on the local fauna and flora and the hapu whenua during the consenting phase. The result was a set of consent conditions designed to protect the habitat whilst still allowing progress for the community and the local and national economy. An aligned outcome!


The contractors embraced the consent conditions and put in place a team motivated to do the best for the local fauna and flora, including native copper skinks. Copper skinks are classified as an “at-risk species”, and the odds are stacked against them! Over several weeks around 40 native skinks were trapped, while over 1000 pest Australian lizards were also trapped and destroyed. The skinks were housed temporarily while a new home was prepared on Mauao, where the native habitat and predator control will give them the best chance of survival.


Video credit - NZTA

Lizards are not the only species being protected to allow the road to be built. Native fish species have also been caught and relocated to ensure that they continue to thrive in the area.


This is an example of where development can continue without disadvantaging the environment and our wildlife. It takes the right attitude and some effort to ensure that the consent conditions are implemented as intended and the local community is involved in the process.


If you want to know more about Plague skinks head over to the DOC website here.

Read more about the project here.

Read the NZ Herald article here.


This article was written by

Brian Robertson

WReNNZ Chairperson


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