What makes New Zealand’s natural heritage so special?
Underlying New Zealand’s physical attractions–its dramatic mountains, unpolluted beaches and green countryside is an epic survival story of unique plants and animals.
Cast adrift from the ancient supercontinent of Gondwanaland, these ancient species evolved in isolation and struggled to survive in what renowned naturalist David Bellamy has called ‘Moa’s Ark’ (named after New Zealand’s native, but now extinct, giant flightless bird, the moa).
After only 1000 years of human settlement New Zealand has lost many native species. But impressive gains have been made in recent times to protect and enhance what is left.
These include removing introduced pests from island wildlife sanctuaries, the establishment of 13 national parks, three maritime parks, two world heritage areas, hundreds of nature reserves and ecological areas, a network of marine reserves and wetlands, and protection for special rivers and lakes.