The Better Half Wine Sponsors Marlborough’s East Coast Protection Group

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We are pleased to announce that The Better Half Wine is the first and founding sponsor of local conservation organisation Marlborough’s East Coast Protection Group (ECPG).

The ECPG was set up in 2017 to protect a 42km stretch of the Marlborough coastline, designated a “biodiversity hotspot”, from Marfells Beach to the Ure River Valley, and was recently recognised for its efforts in the 2023 Cawthron Marlborough Environment Awards.

BIODIVERSITY OF MARLBOROUGH'S EAST COAST

This area of the coast is home to various threatened species such as the banded dotterel, black-fronted terns, Kiwaia ‘Cloudy Bay’ moth, katipo spider, coastal tree broom (Carmichelia muritai), and sea holly (Eryngium). It is also an important resting point along the migration path for species such as godwit and ruddy turnstones, and haul-out area for seals.

The ECPG’s aim is to protect and enhance the coastal environment and its biodiversity, and to increase awareness amongst visitors and locals of the unique plants, animals and landscape along this coast. They do this by undertaking wildlife monitoring, predator trapping, weed control.

The group was founded in 2017 after the Kaikoura Earthquake uplifted significant amounts of intertidal land and made isolated coastal nesting sites of endangered birds more accessible to the general public.

THE 2016 KAIKOURA EARTHQUAKE

The magnitude 7.8 earthquake on Nov 14, 2016, was one of the most powerful ever experienced in New Zealand and one of the most complex earthquakes ever to be recorded with modern instruments. The quake lasted nearly two minutes in total and ground was displaced horizontally and vertically by up to 12m, with extensive uplift of land out of the sea along this stretch of coastline.

Since then, they have engaged in community awareness-building to protect endangered birds who nest along this section of coastline, undertaken weed control and native replanting, and employed contractors who undertake substantial wildlife monitoring and predator trapping. Over 1000 predators have been caught and monitoring has demonstrated a slight but hopeful increase in the number of chicks fledging between the 2022 and 2023 season.

In 2023, The ECPG won the landscape and habitat award at the Cawthron Environmental Awards. Judges commented on the group’s resilience, collaboration, and deep commitment to areas of significance. They have dealt admirably with conflicts over values, engaged well qualified contractors, and employed good methodologies and protocols. They are collecting good data which is not only used to direct the scope of future activities but also as a vehicle to communicate their work to the wider community.

ECPG Treasurer Will Parsons, who comes from a family that has lived in the area for four generations, says “We are so fortunate to have discovered The Better Half wine company and now our first founding sponsor, a local business with an international reach. This gives us the impetus to continue our work of predator control and monitoring for the restoration of the native wildlife. It’s a wonderful thought that every time some enjoys a glass of The Better Half wine nature will benefit. “

The Better Half Wine is excited to work with such a proactive and effective organisation and feels proud to be safeguarding this important part of the Marlborough environment. Owner and Winemaker George Elworthy is enthusiastic about the partnership. “This area of the coast is one I love to fly over. A chance meeting with Shannon and Jason Mears of Mears contracting at the airstrip near Cape Campbell sparked a discussion of the conservation work being done here and how we could get involved. The more I’ve learned about the group, the more I’ve been impressed by how much this group of landowners and volunteers have been able to achieve on fairly limited resources. It is fantastic if we can play a small part in supporting their ongoing conservation work.”

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