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Published: 2003-12-22 00:00:00

Environment Waikato has granted $10,000 to the New Zealand Native Forest Restoration Trust to help complete the purchase a block of lowland forest at Mapiu in the Waitomo District.

The project involves a six hectare block of forest on SH4 near the Omaru scenic reserve, known as the Ross Bishop reserve. The block is largely unmodified and contains excellent mature kahikatea, matai and other native trees. It is also close to the highway and easily accessible to visitors.

The total purchase price of $55,000 was raised through donations and loans from Trust members, and the grant will assist to pay back those loans.

Strategic Development Manager Kevin Collins said Environment Waikato had recognised the importance of retaining surviving kahikatea fragments as an icon of the Waikato Region. Increasing public access to these types of areas also is a Council priority.