Kahurangi National Park, Farewell Spit and Canaan karst system

Date of Submission: 30/03/2007
Criteria: (vii)(viii)(ix)(x)
Category: Natural
Submitted by:
Department of Conservation
State, Province or Region:

Tasman District, South Island


Coordinates: S 41 00 E172 30
Ref.: 5122
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Description

Kahurangi National Park (452,889 ha) occupies the north-west corner of Nelson at the northern end of the South Island. Farewell Spit Nature Reserve (11,423 ha) extends out from the park's northernmost point near Cape Farewell, as an arc around the northern side of Golden Bay.

The geodiversity of Kahurangi National Park is the most complex in any of New Zealand's large protected areas. The diversity of rock types, soils, topography and climates throughout Kahurangi has produced a remarkable array of terrestrial, freshwater and estuarine ecosystems. These range from alpine screes, cirque tarns, alpine bogs, and fellfield, down through snow tussock grasslands and subalpine shrublands, to montane rainforests (beech) and, at the lowest altitudes, humid coastal rainforest (podocarps, rata and nikau palms), dunelands, estuaries and swamps.

Farewell Spit is a one kilometer-wide arc of sand that extends for almost 30 km, enclosing 10,000 ha of intertidal sandflats along its southern edge. Strong north-westerly winds constantly sweep the sand which accumulates on the spit out into the shallows of Golden Bay, creating an outstanding habitat for shore birds.

Statements of authenticity and/or integrity

Kahurangi National Park, Farewell Spit Nature Reserve, Waikoropupu Springs and the Canaan karst system have very high geophysical and biological integrity, legal protection, planning and day to day management. Risks to the area are mainly from increased tourism that may accompany listing as a World Heritage Site.

Comparison with other similar properties

No other protected area in New Zealand has such a diversity of geological history and rock types, landforms and plant communities. In addition, the complex tectonic history of the area, coupled with the isolation of local plant and animal communities during the ice ages, has given Kahurangi an extraordinary level of endemism in both its flora and its invertebrate, giant land snail and native fish fauna.