Magazine of the Queen Elizabeth II National Trust
November 2006

Reproduced with permission from QEII National Trust - Subject to copyright in its entirety.

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Harrison family - safeguarding the coast
The Harrison family has protected two parts of Great Barrier's beautiful southern coast.

Graeme Harrison and his father, the late Bob Harrison gifted to QEII a 6.35ha headland, called Mara Point.  Located at the entrance to Tryphena Harbour, it is a well-known landmark to yachties.

Bob Harrison had earlier covenanted another 15.8ha block of virgin coastal forest on the south coast. Accessible only by sea, this block, now owned by Graeme’s brother John, contains large puriri and pohutukawa growing right to the water’s edge.

Mara Point - Photo: Margaret McKee

Graeme Harrison approaches the pohutukawa-lined
shore on the south coast covenant. Photo: Margaret McKee

Safe haven
In June 1989, four castaways struggled onto a rocky shoreline on Great Barrier’s southeast coast after 119 days adrift in their upturned yacht, the Rose Noelle. They clambered up a steep bush-clad valley to an unoccupied cottage where they gorged on grapefruit before finding help further uphill.

Still a safe haven, the rugged valley is now refuge to native plants and animals thanks to the efforts of the Little Windy Hill Company.

The company protected 116ha under an open space covenant in 1998 and began an ambitious conservation programme the following year. In 2002 the Windy Hill Rosalie Bay Catchment Trust was formed to coordinate the 14 neighbouring landowners who joined the programme, bringing the total area to 450ha.

The Catchment Trust Manager, Judy Gilbert, says, "Pest control, both plant and animal, is the focus of the ecological restoration alongside monitoring of birds, lizards, wetas, rat densities and seedlings. But reintroducing the North Island robin to Barrier after an absence of 140 years has been our crowning achievement."

The Rose Noelle crew found their way up from the coast through pohutukawa, podocarp and broadleaf forest to the Little Windy Hill cottage.  Photo: Margaret McKee

Dean Medland and Judy Gilbert carry in rat traps and
covers to the Little Windy Hill covenant.

More: Glenfern Sanctuary, bringing back the birds