Frequently Asked Questions

  • We have a major biodiversity crisis on our hands due to introduced pest species. Over 75% of New Zealand’s native bird species have already been lost forever.
  • Even with the best in trapping, hunting and toxin technology combined with massive volunteer time and effort, species will continue to decline and disappear from the Top of the South and from New Zealand as a whole… because without a defined barrier to keep pest species out a pest control programme cannot achieve full eradication.
  • Many of our rarest and most iconic native species are so vulnerable to mammals that even a small number of rats, stoats, or possums can decimate a local population of rowi kiwi, saddlebacks (tieke), or yellowheads (mohua).
  • A fence is the only option to stop the decline of natives in its tracks and allow the ecosystem to be restored with all the remaining native species.
  •  The sanctuary site is mostly pristine original native forest that is ideal habitat for native birds and other species– the problem is that there are deadly pest species there too, as with all of New Zealand’s mainland.

  • It’s close to Nelson (a 10-minute bike or bus ride from city centre) and will be popular with locals and visitors as a result – and there’s even a camping ground right next door.

  • The fence will create a protected haven for native wildlife by excluding all pest mammals. This core area will serve as a nursery for native bids that will then spread beyond the fence, back into our communities and our daily lives.
  • The fence will allow the sanctuary to offer remarkable experiences for locals and visitors to explore the ‘original New Zealand’ and observe species as they might have lived before humans arrived here.
  • The sanctuary is already home to many native animal species such as wood pigeons (kereru), tui, and common gecko (moko kakariki), as well as relatively rare species such as NZ falcons (karearea), rifleman (titipounamu), and Nelson green gecko. Once the pests are gone, populations of species already present are expected to dramatically increase.
  • The valley has amazing plant life and big old trees such as matai and totara, and stream life such as eels and koura.
  • Over time the Trust plans to reintroduce the full compliment of species that were once native the area, from tuatara to kiwi to kokako to various sea birds.
  • Many species will spread out from the sanctuary—meaning we will expect to see kaka and kakariki in our gardens.
  • 2002 Steering group formed | 2004 Trust formed | 2006 Pest control, weed control, track construction started
  • 2007 Visitor Centre opened | 2009 Resource Consent for fence secured | 2014  30,000th pest trapped/hunted
  • Trust’s 300 volunteers putting in 30,000 hours of work p.a. | Education programme hosting 3,500 students p.a. 
  • The Trust is planning for fence construction to start in October 2014, with timing dependent upon Resource Consent conditions being satisfied and final contracts signed.
  • The anticipated completion date for fence construction is April 2016.
  • The Trust is working closely with pest-proof fence project manager, Opus Consulting Intl, and contractors, Taylors Contracting and Xcluder Pest-Proof Fencing, and Nelson City Council to assure public safety during fence construction, while striving for minimal impacts to public access.
  • The sanctuary site will remain open during fence construction, with rolling closures around the perimeter of the site centred on where construction is taking place.
  • Tracks around the perimeter will be closed, on a rolling basis, during construction hours (7am – 5pm weekdays), and open for public use on evenings and weekends.
  • Track closures will be posted on our web site and notified in the local newspapers.
  • No; the fence will run parallel to the Dun Mountain Walkway / Trail.
  • There will be a perimeter track on the outside of the fence, allowing for better access around the upper catchment—including an improved connecting track between the Tantragee/Dun Mountain Walkway/Fringed Hill network and the Jenkins Hill/Marsden Valley/Involution network.
  • The land where the fence will be built is classed as stable and civil and geotechnical engineers have advised that the route is suitable. And while there’s never a guarantee that an extreme weather event won’t cause an incident, we are employing best practices to mitigate the risks, we have a contingency plan to fix any breaches of the fence should they occur, and we are accumulating a maintenance fund to cover major repair costs.
  • We have plans in place for rapid response to fix fence breaches, including caches of fence materials stored around the perimeter and multiple vehicle gates for perimeter access.
  • The fence will have an electronic alarm system that will alert us immediately as to the exact location of any breach.
  • The visitor experience will be remarkable, featuring rare wildlife encounters, and will include much more than the birdlife… an impressive network of new tracks through pristine forest with outstanding vistas, picnic areas, hidden grottos, and a series of heritage dams, weirs, and waterworks structures.
  • Exciting new perimeter tracks will allow people to walk around the new fence and bike along some sections, including 6km of new bike trail that joins with one of NZ’s Great Rides.
  • There will be a calendar of events, including guided tours, wildlife feeding, celebrations and training opportunities.
  • One of the big benefits the sanctuary will offer is a healthy contrast to people’s busy lives that we like to call “Green Bonding” instead of “Screen Bonding.”
  • The Trust has been working to develop this sanctuary with no debt, so there is no intention of creating a liability for the region – instead we intend creating an asset that we can all be proud of, as it attracts visitors who will pay to visit and volunteers who will continue to enjoy being a part of it.
  • There will be a range of experiences available to visitors from basic entry to guided tours and special events.
  • There will be an admission charge to experience the amazing interior of the sanctuary. While admission pricing is still being finalised, the Trust is committed to keeping it affordable for locals to make multiple visits per year.
  • We recognise that some locals will want to visit frequently so there will be membership packages for year round access, families, and discounts for students and seniors.
  • Nelson City Council is the owner of the campground, which is part of the Brook Recreation Reserve.
  • NCC has announced they are beginning work on developing a comprehensive management plan for the reserve.
  • The Trust looks forward to contributing to this planning process, along with the rest of the community.
  • The Brook Conservation Education Centre—a joint training facility developed by the Trust, NMIT and DOC, located adjacent to the campground—was closed by a land slip. NCC has granted landowner permission to relocate the centre’s buildings to a portion of the campground; however, those plans are on hold while the management plan is developed for the site.