Rare coastal plants to welcome passengers arriving at Hawke’s Bay Airport

This week visitors to Hawke’s Bay Airport will be welcomed by Pimelia xenica, Coprosma acerosa, and Muehlenbeckia ephedroides.

No, they are not Roman generals or tropical diseases – they are three of the four rare native New Zealand plants that populate nearby Te Mara o Tawhao, colloquially known as “The Gap.”

To celebrate Biodiversity Week, Hawke’s Bay Airport and Biodiversity Hawke’s Bay, are bringing the biodiversity of The Gap and other local restoration projects to the airport.

The Gap is a stretch of coastline between Westshore and Bay View with no houses on it – due to it being a low-fly area for the airport’s cross-runway. Hawke’s Bay Airport is the key sponsor of the community project, led by Biodiversity Hawke’s Bay and Te Taiwhenua o Te Whanganui ā Orotu, to protect and enhance the unique biodiversity of this area.

The Gap is supported by Napier and Hastings councils and a number of local community groups, schools and associations.

During Biodiversity Week the airport foyer will be amassed with natives, interspersed with information boards highlighting the mahi of local conservation groups including the Ahuriri Estuary Protection Society, Maraetōtara Tree Trust, the Tukipo Catchment Group and Te Wai Mauri.

Hawke’s Bay Airport chief executive, Rob Stratford says sustainability is at the heart of the airport’s work and supporting a project that protects local habitat is something the team are very proud of.

“Te Mara o Tawhao is the only place in Napier that has this special vegetation type and shingle beach ecosystem. It’s potentially home to indigenous invertebrates and we want to ensure this unique place is here for future generations,” Mr Stratford says.

“The Hawke’s Bay Airport are proud supporters of Biodiversity Hawke’s Bay and see Biodiversity Week as a great opportunity to highlight to our visitors the important work they do on all of our behalf.”

“Biodiversity Week is also a fantastic opportunity for tamariki to learn, with a specific area created just for the kids. The displays will be here for several weeks, so please bring your whānau down to learn about our local environment.”  

Biodiversity Hawke’s Bay general Manager, Debbie Monahan, says there are four local projects being highlighted over the week.

“So many people and organisations are involved in a range of biodiversity projects, and it is great that the airport has given us an opportunity to highlight a few of them. We look forward to this first event and then looking to what we can plan for the next,” Ms Monahan says.

For more information, to become a member of Biodiversity Hawke’s Bay, get involved or to support Biodiversity Hawke’s Bay visit www.biodiversityhb.org