Northland iwi plan $1.2m Jurassic Park-style anti-pest fence

A Northland iwi is planning to build a predator-proof fence across the very tip of New Zealand.

The fence would stretch from coast to coast, creating a Jurassic Park-style sanctuary - without the dinosaurs. It's a remote and beautiful part of the country, and that makes it worth protecting, the iwi believes. 

"That's our concept now - a bit of Jurassic World going on," says Ngāti Kuri's Sheridan Waitai.

She hopes their $1.2 million fence will offer better protection against threats and predators in the bio-diverse hotspot. 

"It's a place that has so many endemic species in it," says Ms Waitai. "It needs to be protected."

The 8.5km fence will stretch from below the Te Paki sand dunes on the West Coast, across State Highway 1, to the Parengarenga Harbour just south to Te Hapua on the east coast.

A map of where the fence would stretch.
A map of where the fence would stretch. Photo credit: Newshub

The iwi-led initiative was announced publicly at the Forest and Bird Conference in Wellington. 

"This is next-level; this is actually protecting a whole part of our country," says Forest and Bird CEO Kevin Hague. 

It's the same length as the fence that wraps around Zealandia, formerly known as the Karori Wildlife Sanctuary, a protected natural area in Wellington. But Ngāti Kuri's will navigate some slightly more challenging terrain. 

"The difference with this fence is State Highway 1 access and beach access on either side," says Ms Waitai. 

While the Ngāti Kuri board has signed off on the concept, it's still researching what to do about roads to ensure the traffic flowing through the fence is pest-free.

It plans to announce a timeline for the start of construction later this year.