Frequently Asked Questions
New Zealand has been isolated as a landmass for around 80 million years ago and in that time developed a unique fauna based on birds, reptiles and insects. This fauna was ill-equipped to deal with the changes brought about by the arrival of people all the animals they introduced to the country. Many species became extinct and others were only safe on offshore islands, free from mammalian predators and competitors.
Keeping our unique wildlife only on remote offshore islands means we also lose connection with them. Projects like the Brook Sanctuary can provide pest-free ‘oases’ on the mainland and bring our wonderful birds and reptiles back - into our lives and into a protected place where they can once again flourish.
The Sanctuary’s business model has two key elements. The first is to minimise overheads through having only a small staff, making full use of training programmes and volunteers and working in partnership with other organisations. The second is to create a year-round attraction with a range of accommodation opportunities to suit the widest possible range of visitors. A special element planned is the construction of a low-impact lodge in the interior of the site where visitors would be met by a guide who would cook their meals and take them on a night-time tour. They would then wake up to a dawn chorus currently only experienced on some remote offshore islands.
The key element, 14km of pest-proof fencing, will cost about $4.2 million dollars. Around half of this will be paid to the company who build the fence for the wire mesh, stainless steel cap, etc The balance is for materials (e.g. fence posts), equipment hire and labour which we expect to source locally. Just as local companies and individuals supported the building of our visitor centre by discounting or donating their inputs, so we anticipate them providing support to help build the fence. To ensure the project will be sustained long-term we require further initial funding to develop visitor and track infrastructure and provide for staffing, giving a total of $7 million.
Pest-proof fencing in New Zealand was developed independently by two groups, each of whom did considerable testing of the abilities of different pests to climb, jump or dig! Their designs are similar, incorporating:
- a fine mesh too small for even baby mice to squeeze through;
- a horizontal “skirt” at ground level to prevent burrowing;
- the similar height of a deer fence to prevent animals jumping over; and
- a curved metal cap on top to prevent any animals climbing over.
The major benefit provided by such a fence is enabling the Sanctuary to achieve ‘zero pests’.
Once all pests are eliminated from within the Sanctuary, rare native species that once lived at the site can be returned. In the case of the Brook Waimarama Sanctuary the list includes kiwi, yellowheads, saddlebacks, burrow-nesting seabirds, tuatara, bats and even kakapo.