Situated along The Esplanade in Westshore, Napier, is an 8037.4m2 area of land that is of special significance to Napier. Colloquially referred to as 'The Gap', the vacant area is a small and precious remnant of the shingle beach and dune ecosystem that was once predominant in the area. It has recently been identified as a Significant Natural Area (SNA) under the name “Esplanade Herbfield”.
The site justifies the SNA designation because it is the sole representative of this vegetation type and shingle beach ecosystem in Napier, and potentially provides habitat for indigenous invertebrates. it is home to four rare native plants - Pimelia xenica, Coprosma acerosa, Muehlenbeckia ephedroides and Muehlenbeckia axillaris.
A project is now rebuilding the native plant populations endemic to the area and restoring the ecosystem. Revegetating this site with appropriate indigenous species is important to enhance the biodiversity in the area and deliver on its potential environmental value.
Pimelia xenica Coprosma acerosa Muehlenbeckia ephedroides Muehlenbeckia axillaris
Sponsored by Hawke’s Bay Airport Ltd, the project is a collaboration between Biodiversity Hawke’s Bay and Te Taiwhenua o Te Whanganui ā Orotu. It is also being supported by Napier City Council, Hastings District Council and community groups including the Westshore Residents and Development Association, Napier Forest and Bird, and Rotary Club of Ahuriri Sunrise with the Interact Clubs of Napier. The project benefits from the expertise of local ecologists Kay Griffiths (The Conservation Company) and Marie Taylor (Plant Hawke’s Bay).
Following identification and mapping of the native plants, weeds and other exotic species are being removed in readiness for planting additional natives in June-July 2022 – the first in what is a multi-year project. In the future, appropriate signage will be installed to help visitors understand this unusual site and to learn of its history and relevance to mana whenua.
If you’re interested in helping out, there is space for lots more volunteers to help maintain what we need to retain by doing hand weeding around our precious natives. Contact Debbie at email@example.com if you’re interested.
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