Solar panels provide the energy to run the network of wi-fi hotspots and time-lapse cameras collect footage from a ridge near the coast of Abel Tasman National Park. From left to right are Chris Rodley from SnapitHD and Daniel Bar Even and Peter Handford from Groundtruth. (image: V Meduna)
Project Janszoon is a privately funded group working to restore the ecology of Abel Tasman National Park, in partnership with the Department of Conservation. With the help of funding from a philanthropic New Zealand family trust, the project has begun a pest control programme that includes stoat trapping and the removal of wilding pines.
As a next step, the project team plans to plant key species such as rata and milkwood, and reintroduce birds that are now missing or in low numbers in the park, including kaka, kakariki, brown teal and mohua.
With the help of two science-based companies, Groundtruth and SnapitHD, the project recently established a network of wi-fi hotspots and set up time-lapse cameras to provide a virtual visitor’s centre. The network allows visitors to access information about the weather, tides, points of interest, history and wildlife on the project’s website or through a free smart phone app. The wireless technology also means that visitors can listen to a live link of birdsong from the pest-free Adele Island and view footage of Adele Island and Anchorage.
For the project’s director, businessman Devon McLean, this is a homecoming. Having grown up in the area, he has returned to spend his retirement helping to transform the ecology of the park over the next three decades, leading up to the December 2042 celebration of the 400th anniversary of Abel Janszoon Tasman’s visit to New Zealand, and the centenary of the formation of Abel Tasman National Park.