2 Mar 2017

Some of the most prized ecological areas on the Port Hills have escaped the fire largely unscathed.

Christchurch City Council Regional Parks Operations Manager Kay Holder said early assessments of the damage to Council-owned reserve land showed the damage was not as bad as initially feared, with some of the highly valued areas spared from the flames. 

“We have been overwhelmed by the public’s response to this devastating fire. If nothing else, it has reinforced just how important the Port Hills are to Cantabrians, and just how special the area is to so many people,'' Ms Holder said.

Di Carter, the Council’s Port Hills and Peninsula Rangers Project Manager said Council land had escaped much of the major fire damage.

“Many private landowners have incurred damage. Council reserve land has been considerably spared in comparison, with the main natural/regenerating areas affected by fire being Marley’s Hill, Mt Ada, Cass Peak and the flanks of Kennedy’s Bush.

“Our most valuable natural areas of mature podocarp/hardwood forest, where 700/800 year old tōtara, mataī and kahikatea stand tall, have been spared, to the great relief of all,” Ms Carter said.

“In the scheme of things, the numbers of trees planted by volunteers that have been lost to the fire is relatively small, with 55,000 trees planted by volunteers since the year 2000 and 6500 lost to the fire.''

People wanting to contribute to the Port Hills recovery effort can donate to the Port Hills Fire Restoration Fund, which is being managed by the Banks Peninsula Conservation Trust.

The fund is a collaborative effort between Christchurch City Council, Selwyn District Council, government agencies, conservation groups and the public, and will support the recovery efforts on publicly owned conservation land and private land with important ecological values and conservation covenants. 

Details about making a donation can be found on the BPCT website