Big funding fast track



Queenstown eco-venture Treespace Queenstown Ltd has fast-tracked its forest planting plans for Mount Dewar after receiving a funding boost from tech entrepreneur and part-time resort resident Rod Drury.

Treespace director Adam Smith tells Mountain Scene Drury’s not only come on board as an
investor, but provided a finance facility to fast-track the venture’s reforestation programme.

Smith says it ‘‘dramatically brings forward’’ the venture’s environmental impact and its recreational benefits for locals and visitors through a new bike trail network.







It has also shortened the lead-time for selling sites for its forest settlement, Smith says.

Believed to be the country’s largest commercially-funded native reforestation project, Treespace contracted local iwi charity Mana Tahuna to begin planting the first of a planned
140,000 beech trees on the 1768-hectare former high country station last spring.

A logging crew’s been clearing living and dead wilding trees from the hillsides to make way for the planting.

Treespace is expecting to pay for the work with the proceeds from selling 37 cabin sites on the mountain’s south-facing lower slopes, revenue from 10 chalets for residential and visitor accommodation, and a lodge for overnight guests.

That income will also pay for the cost of buying the station and the ongoing management and maintenance of the property.

Drury’s support comes after a delay to the project’s infrastructure development caused by the impact of Covid-19 on banks’ willingness to lend on new residential subdivisions.

Smith says it’s now set the ambitious goal of condensing what was originally going to be 10 years of tree planting into five years.

Infrastructure work for the forest settlement could begin as early as this year, while construction of the bike trail network is starting immediately.

He hopes details about the registration process for cabin sites buyers can be released by the end of the coming winter.

Jump-start for jump park

Courtney Briggs and Ashton Beer (above) were among 10 workers from Mana Tahuna who planted 1000 mountain beech trees at Queenstown’s Wynyard Jump Park on Wednesday.

The staff took a day off their usual jobs planting trees on Mount Dewar to do a community work day for the Queenstown Mountain Bike Club.

The trees were jointly donated by Drury, who’s a club member and Treespace.

Club president Chris Conway says the ‘‘amazing’’ project’s an example of how it’s working more and more with other conservation-minded organisations in the Whakatipu.

The trees were planted in the jump park’s recently-revamped Mini Dream area.