New Forests’ Wenita Forest Products sponsors Ecosanctuary
Orokonui Ecosactuary – Te Korowai o Mihiwaka, is a 307-hectare not-for-profit, community-led biodiversity sanctuary near Dunedin, in New Zealand’s South Island. It is home to many threatened species and habitats. The sanctuary covers Coastal Otago Forest and is surrounded by a 9 km predator-proof fence. Orokonui’s long term goal is to ensure its threatened species and supportive community thrive alongside each other. The sanctuary is free of introduced mammalian predators, allowing native wildlife to flourish. Pests have been removed, habitat enhanced with weed control and planting, and many rare and endangered species re-introduced such as the Haast Tokoeka Kiwi, South Island Kākā, Takahē, Jewelled Gecko, Tuatara, South Island Robin, Otago Skink, Green Skink and New Zealand Falcon.
Wenita Forest Products, managed by New Forests’ as part of its Australia New Zealand Forest Fund 2 (ANZFF2), sponsors the Ecosanctuary’s Conservation Education Program. The program offers high quality, hands on, science-based learning experiences to local students, from pre-school to tertiary level.
Wenita Chief Executive David Cormack observed,
Sponsorship of the Orokonui conservation education program reflects our commitment to backing local biodiversity initiatives and environmental education – which is a natural fit with Wenita’s and New Forests’ values.”
The Orokonui education team has delivered the program to over 75,000 students since it began in 2009. The program receives consistently positive feedback from teachers and students, with many schools taking conservation action after visiting the sanctuary.
The multi-year support provided by Wenita and New Forests will ensure the Ecosanctuary can continue to deliver meaningful conservation and educational initiatives. Alongside the educational program, Orokonui provides offsite programs to support habitat restoration projects in schools that can’t afford to travel to the sanctuary. This inspires and supports conservation action among the wider Otago community, and demonstrates Wenita’s and New Forests’ commitment to support conservation activities alongside plantation forest management operations in regions where New Forests manages its investments.