this page is still under construction
The Punakaiki Living Lab, is about creating the National Park of the 21st century, where environment protection and restoration of biodiversity is experienced, learned and achieved through the active
involvement of citizens and visitors.
involvement of citizens and visitors.
New Zealand is known worldwide for its outstanding environmental values and amazing, yet threatened, biodiversity. However outside of local community projects there are few opportunities for ‘first-timers’, ‘new New Zealanders’ and international visitors to become actively involved in NZ environmental values and protection. The Punakaiki Living Lab offers a new set of National Park experiences, where instead of just walking and sightseeing, opportunities for seed-raising, planting, species monitoring, pest control, citizen science and volunteering are offered. This project will initiate a shift from the current ‘take only pictures, leave only footprints’ policy of National Parks toward an ‘hands on’ engagement of local communities and visitors in the conservation of NZ environment. Through these participative experiences, visitors will leave a positive mark on the natural environment and take home not only pictures, but also knowledge, skills and ownership. Providing restoration experiences to casual visitors in our iconic National Parks will enable key sectors of society to take first steps in supporting through their actions the known benefits of NZ’s conservation values and lands.
By reconnecting people with nature, this project aspires at demonstrating that ‘more-people-visiting-a-site’ can be good for the environment.
This plan is still to finalised, and represents the partnership's current vision for the site. This will, of course, be subject to a number of processes, including, when the plan is finished, community feedback, feasibility and environmental impact studies.
The proposed facilities will include the following.
The gateway facility to the site will be a visitor centre located in the existing building and providing information about the site and the current activities that visitors are invited to participate in.
Tucked away behind a stand of Nikau palms, the discovery lodge will offer an opportunity for small groups to spend more time on the site. Residents will include volunteers, university students or school groups. Night time activities may include collecting moths at a light trap, spotlight surveys of fish, watching the petrels rafting overhead at dusk, monitoring penguin activity, ‘invertebrates by night’ walk through the mature forest.
The main board walk will go from the visitor centre to the discovery lodge following a series of loops running through the Nikau Scenic Reserve and different stages of the restoration programme (see draft Master Plan). Interactive interpretative elements will be built-in the boardwalks. Extensions to the main boardwalk will lead to the beach and the future marine reserve.
The plant nursery is an essential resource for the replanting effort on the PCRP site and will also be able to supplement seedlings for other restoration projects on the West Coast. A series of volunteer-focused activities will be proposed around the nursery, including the collection of seeds, planting trees etc.
As an extension of the nursery, the arboretum will offer a short walk through six single tree species environments.
Visitors will have the opportunity to observe and participate in scientific research conducted on the site as part of the living laboratory experience. This will include a range of citizen science projects as well as research project conducted by Lincoln University postgraduate students.
Petrel viewing platform
An additional boardwalk will lead the visitors up to a Petrel viewing platform some 30m above the visitor centre. The boardwalk will follow the existing track leading to the lookout located behind the current buildings. The view from there will be very similar to the picture on the website homepage. It will be the ideal location to observe thousands of Westland Black Petrels coming back from the sea at dusk.
Draft Master Plan