The Pokai Parera Farms near Eketahuna are owned by Bud and Dr. Elizabeth Jones. Bud was awarded the QSM in 2013 for efforts in wildlife conservation and arboretum achievements.
Covenant application denied
By Bud Jones
I applied for a Queen Elizabeth 11 Open Space Covenant for 214 acres.
The area included 5 large lakes plus 21 small ponds with 30,000 trees planted by me and all areas developed for wildlife habitat.
(Queen Elizabeth II National Trust is an independent statutory organisation and a registered charity. It was set up in 1977 to ‘encourage and promote, for the benefit of New Zealand, the provision, protection, preservation and enhancement of open space’.)
Assessors from QE2 came out to view the situation, and were not initially impressed or interested.
Why? – because the majority of the trees were exotics – maple, oaks, cherry, birch, alders, taxodium and others.
I was turned down.
Native birds bring a change of heart
I pointed out that there were large numbers of native Water Fowl: Grey Duck, Grey Teal, Paradise Shell Ducks, Black Scaup and Black Swan.
But there were also many endemic Dabchick, highly endangered and headed for extinction, plus the large number of song birds – Tui, Bellbirds, Fantail, Grey Warbler and others.
Suddenly there was a flurry of interest after having turned down the application initially because of the preponderance of exotic flora and fauna.
After further consideration I was accepted, and a contract duly arrived for protection in perpetuity under the QE2 Open Space Covenant, thanks to the many Dabchick on show!!!
Slight problem: no exotics allowed!
One clause under a heading of my responsibilities stated I was responsible to remove any plant or animal not naturally found in the district of the covenant.
Slight problem for sure!!! Nor could I plant, or be allowed to be planted, any seed or plant not naturally found in the district….
Alarm bells rang as I remember WELL the long battle along the Waikanae River when it was deemed necessary to cut down the old growth pohutukawa trees because their only crime was they were not endemic to the district.
Now I was part of this madness and had a dog in the fight!!! That dog was
- $253,000.00 of land cost
- $100,000.00 of development costs
- 1000’s of hours of hard labor [ yes I’m a Yank ] planting and fencing.
No dice, but then a renegotiation
Needless to say I told QE2 to shove the Covenant Contract where the sun don’t shine!! Weeks later, when I cooled off, the contract was reconstructed, with the green madness removed to my satisfaction, and all was hunky dory and signed off.
However, the black/green cloud still hangs over the whole thing and vigilance will be required to keep the “green Gestapo” at arm’s length!!!
There are a few wild deer, rabbits, hares, mallard ducks, Canada geese and pheasants happily in residence too, much to the sneer on the agent who monitors covenants!!
An observation: there are too many Kiwis joined at the hip with natives, having less success than the combination of exotics and natives on my farm.