Conservation rates highly with DUNZ members, so it’s not surprising that one of our own received an award for commitment to the cause in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours list.
Andrew (Andy) Graeme Lowe, of Havelock North, a long-time member of Ducks Unlimited, was made a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM) for services to conservation.
Andy is the managing director of Lowe Corporation in Hawke’s Bay and has been the initiator and vision-keeper for Te Matau a Maui, the Cape Kidnappers Sanctuary, which is the largest privately funded mainland wildlife reserve in New Zealand.
In 2006, Andy and other land owners began an ambitious project to restore the Cape Kidnappers peninsula back to its former wildlife glory. Covering 2500 hectares, the sanctuary has the most diverse range of native bird life on coastal mainland New Zealand.
Cape Sanctuary is owned by Julian Robertson and the Hansen and Lowe families who share the vision to restore the coastal community of land birds, sea birds, reptiles and invertebrates that once flourished there.
The project aims to achieve significant biodiversity gains alongside existing land uses of farming, forestry, recreation and tourism. The sanctuary includes a DOC reserve of 13ha.
There is also the Cape to City venture, a wide-scale predator control and ecological restoration project over 26,000ha of land between Hastings and Cape Kidnappers, extending south to include Waimarama and forest remnants at Kahuranaki. This is a sister venture to the successful Poutiri Ao o Tane ecological restoration project in the Maugaharuru ranges, near Tutira.
The Cape Sanctuary project is also part of Cape to City and is a partnership between the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, DOC, Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research and various landowners and businesses, and has funding from the Aotearoa Foundation.
Andy is also involved with the Martins Bay restoration at the end of the Hollyford Valley in Fiordland National Park. Known as a “biodiversity hotspot”, the area has unparalleled marine and terrestrial landscapes, habitats, flora and fauna, ranging from fragile dune systems and wetlands to unique prodocarp forest, and is the only place in the country where bottlenose dolphins enter a fresh water lake.