In 2004 the government used the Nature Heritage Fund to purchase Birchwood Station, a 23,783-hectare high country sheep run in the Ahuriri valley, North Otago. The station filled a gap in New Zealand’s protected areas system for several reasons. It contained beautiful alpine scenery, ideal for recreation. As it was close to other conservation land, it brought government plans for a network of South Island high country reserves one step closer. And most importantly, it was a crucial breeding area for the endangered black stilt, and for several other threatened bird species such as the black-fronted tern and wrybill.
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Photograph by Gilbert van Reenen
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