December 23, 2022

People of KMR – Ian Cawkwell – Bringing back the natives

Ian Cawkwell is doing something to the environment very few people would.

Not only is he buying ex-forestry land post-harvest but he is putting it back into pasture – a far cry from his career constructing gold mines around the world.

And along the way he is fencing off waterways, gullies and bush blocks to look after the land and play his part in looking after the Kaipara Moana.

It is the very essence of the Kaipara Moana Remediation Programme kaupapa which is why he has teamed up with KMR to replant parts of his 79ha beef unit with natives.

Ian is so intent on capitalising on the opportunity to utilise KMR funding to improve the land, he does not plan to return overseas for work until he has fully fenced his property in mid to late 2023. He has already made huge progress.

It seems environmentalism is in his blood thanks to his Mum Stella Clyde who is well known for her work in that realm.

“What KMR is providing for landowners like myself is great and I would encourage other farmers in the Kaipara catchment to get on board and take advantage of the opportunity,” says Ian.

A self-confessed Kaipara man, Ian grew up in the area with his property part of his stomping ground as a youngster.

“I floundered in the Kaipara. I mulleted in the Kaipara and I love the Kaipara. I stomped around here as a kid and remember the creeks full of crayfish and eels.”

Ian has fenced the length of his creek and he is well underway with a planting programme on both sides of the waterway. The natives are growing really well. As you wander around the property, Ian points out numerous pockets he plans to fence of to allow natives to come away.

But it is not relying solely on KMR for funding. He has invested heavily in fencing gear and kit and is doing all the fencing himself. Once complete, Ian reckons he will have completed 3km of six wire fencing (with two electrified) and he can’t wait to see his protected natives flourishing throughout his land. Heading into 2023 Ian had fenced half off his property.

And he plans to continue doing his bit to improve his land to help the environment.

Ian is encouraging other farmers to lock their creeks and waterways up by fencing and planting as it is land that is not going to be used for grazing anyway.

“I am all for KMR. This is a chance to partner up and clean up the environment and split the costs. With KMR contributing financially it is a winner.

“What I am doing with KMR gives me enjoyment and takes me back to my childhood on the farm when we would plant blocks of natives. If it was not for KMR I would be doing this anyway but this gives me even more motivation and allows me to do it quicker.”

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