New Zealand Wildlife (Flora & Fauna)
The Hanmer Springs and the wider North Canterbury area is an excellent example of both native New Zealand wildlife and introduced species. The native kiwi, kea, kaka, yellowhead and more can be found in the region along with game animals and birds, fish and the wild horses on the St James Station, making the region a popular tourist, hunter, angler and nature-lover’s paradise.
Native birds and animals in our area:
The national icon, the kiwi (great-spotted kiwi/ roroa) can be found in the region, particularly the Lake Sumner Forest Park area. According to DOC, the Lake Sumner Forest Park has the richest forest bird diversity in Canterbury.
Birds found in the Region:
It is thought that it is possible that the Bats/pekapeka are also to be found in the Lake Sumner Forest Park area too. The bat is the only native mammal to New Zealand.
The early Maori brought the first rats and dogs to the country. Captain Cook introduced the first wild boar, now named after him as the "Captain Cooker".
The introduction of species of birds, fish and mammals was originally managed by the Canterbury Acclimatisation Society founded in 1864.
Most of the introduced species of animals and birds readily adapted to the mild climate and soon proliferated. So much so, that much of the native wildlife has suffered at the hands of the newcomers. Now, some of our native wildlife is in danger of extinction.
Big game hunters enjoy the abundance of game that the area supplies. Chamois abound in the upper regions, Red stags just above the timberline and forests, and wild boar in the valleys and bush-clad slopes. Possum range over most of the country causing particular havoc to native vegetation
Introduced wild bird game is also in abundance with Canada geese in the headwaters and high country lakes, mallard ducks and paradise shelducks in the many rivers, lakes, and pools. Black swan, pheasants, quail and other birds also can be found in the region.
Of a different kind of introduced species, the St. James Station provides a major attraction in the wild horses that roam the environs of the Ada Valley to the delight of passing trampers on the St James Walkway.
Such organisations as DOC has made extensive steps to control introduced species and even wipe out pests, in an endeavour to preserve the native species of flora and fauna. As mentioned above, they have a programme encouraging recreational hunting as well as commercial ventures to cull and exterminate pests.
Another area of concern is the introduction of noxious plants. New Zealand has witnessed tremendous growth in forestry— particularly pine forests. While this has many benefits, it also has provided some ecological problems, particularly around the edges of lakes with wildling pines. Hanmer Springs Helicopters has been proactive in the fight against this pest, and working on providing solutions to wipe out the problem.