Greater Wellington offers short-term grazing at Queen Elizabeth Park
Greater Wellington has offered a short-term solution to four horse graziers to keep seven horses in Queen Elizabeth Park (QEP) while alternative locations are found.
In November last year, Kāpiti Stables Limited and their 15 casual graziers started finding alternative long-term grazing after Greater Wellington investigations revealed that most of the existing horse grazing areas used by the company in QEP were historic wetlands.
While most graziers were able to find other locations, the last four have continued to work through possibilities to stay and are in ongoing discussions for sites outside the park.
Local councillor and Chair of Greater Wellington’s Environment Committee Penny Gaylor says the short-term solution is pragmatic and enables the graziers to have more time to find alternative locations and for Greater Wellington to prepare for restoration and planting at QEP.
“Our regional parks need to be exemplars of environmental care. With less than six percent of the region’s wetlands remaining, our parks are one of the last places where we can fully protect and enhance these important natural features.
“However, we understand the challenge the four graziers and their seven horses have faced and have agreed that they can remain in the historic wetland area for up to six months,” Cr Gaylor says.
In addition to being wetlands, the former and current grazing areas in QEP are prone to flooding in winter, which makes them unsuitable for long-term grazing. This is a known risk which will be managed by the graziers and Greater Wellington in collaboration with other agencies to ensure the health of the horses.
Regional parks are managed under the Toitū Te Whenua Parks Network Plan (Toitū Te Whenua).
Al Cross, General Manager for Environment Management, says the Toitū Te Whenua vision for parks is about restoring freshwater and biodiversity to natural states, so people can enjoy recreational and cultural experiences.
“Since putting Toitū Te Whenua in place, our science teams have rediscovered many historic wetlands and a spring in QEP. Wetlands help with flood mitigation, provide a home for aquatic birdlife and are great places to visit. In years to come, these areas will be thriving habitats for everyone to view and enjoy,” Mr Cross says.
Greater Wellington is making a significant investment to support Kāpiti Coast District Council’s potential new horse grazing opportunity at Otaraua Park, which is only 12km away from QEP and provides great Waikanae River trail connections.
This investment includes:
- Fencing materials and gates to enable 1,250m of new fencing
- Funds to establish grazing
- Soil testing results and advice to KCDC from GW’s Land Management team members about fertiliser requirements for pasture management of the land
- Provision of 8-10 water troughs for the horses.
The background to Greater Wellington’s changes to grazing at QEP can be found in this fact sheet:
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