Business North March 2021

| 3 COMMUNITY Duder Regional Park “The public has access to the whole farm park, which allows people to connect with their rural roots while observing sustainable farming practices.” Giving city dwellers a taste of farm life Karen Phelps Duder Regional Park operates a traditional sheep and beef system. D uder Regional Park gives Aucklanders an opportunity to have a rural experi- ence within an hour’s drive of the city, says, Manager, Farming Business and Opera- tions Dene Noonan. “The public has access to the whole farm park, which allows people to connect with their rural roots while observing sustainable farming practices,” he says. Located on the Whakakaiwhara Peninsu- la at the entrance to the Wairoa River near Clevedon the 162ha park has been farmed for over 100 years. Ngäi Tai were the first people to live on the peninsula building gardens and a pä (defend- ed fortification) on the point. Thomas Duder purchased the peninsula and surrounding land from Ngäi Tai in 1866 and farmed the land for the next 130 years. To develop it into a productive farm scrub was cleared, fences erected and pasture sown. In 1994 the Duder family sold the farm to the Auckland Regional Council so the environ- mental values of the peninsula could be kept for future generations. Duder, like other regional parks owned by Auckland Council, is an important landscape farmed with the intent of conserving and restoring coastal forest, valley and wetland ecosystems, says Dene. In terms of farming, the park operates a traditional sheep and beef system with 500 breeding ewes and 30 hereford cows. The Council sells fat lambs and produces weaned calves creating non-rates revenue to reduce Council costs to the public. He says in line with Council objectives, operating in an environmentally sustainable way is at the forefront of the farming opera- tion, for example over 15ha has been retired from grazing in the last three years and there is a strong focus on soil management enabled through detailed electromagnetic soil map- ping and fertility testing. He says grazing the park also helps to reduce fire risk during the warmer months. Today visitors can still see signs of the past on the Peninsula, as well as enjoying the pock- ets of original native forest and some of the best coastal views in the Auckland region. The park is experiencing a consistent increase in visitor numbers with day trippers exploring the expansive views from a number of walking, horse-riding (by permit only) and mountain biking tracks as well as those book- ing out the two beach front baches for longer stays, say Trent Taylor, Principal Ranger, Southern Regional Parks. Dene says, “It’s a beautiful spot; we’re very lucky to have a place like this in Auckland.” What to see and do at Duder Regional Park • Follow the Farm Loop Walk to Whakakaiwhara Pä and see the earthwork remains of this fortified Mäori settlement (2½ hours return). • Follow the coastal walk to one of the many beaches. Take your togs, a picnic or your fishing rod, as visitors have done for over 100 years. • Visit the pockets of original native forest and see the trees and plants Mäori used for eating, weaving, dyeing and building. • Watch the bird-life and hunt for shells at Duck Bay (Waipokaia). • Join an Auckland Council volunteer day to help out with planting and conservation work. • Follow the orienteering course, go horse-riding (with a permit) or mountain-biking. 0800 4 KELSO 09 238 4016 | 2169 Buckland Road, RD 2, Pukekohe 2677