The Eyrewell Beetle

The Eyrewell Beetle was once found at Eyrewell Forest in North Canterbury, which is currently owned by Ngāi Tahu Farming for its Te Whenua Hou development. Lately, there has been discussion in the media about the beetle, particularly centred on whether it is extinct and whether enough has been done to protect it. This is an issue of importance to Ngāi Tahu Farming, and the team has taken great care to monitor the beetle closely alongside ecologists from Lincoln University for several years.

Few of these ground beetles have ever been found at Eyrewell Forest (five in the 1960s and five in the early 2000s). It wasn’t until approximately 10 years later that Ngāi Tahu Farming started converting this land and despite extensive efforts (approximately 30,000 trapping days), the beetle has not been sighted. In consultation with Lincoln University, Ngāi Tahu Farming set up reserves as close as practically possible to where the beetles had been found in the past, including both remnant pine forest and new reserve areas which have been planted initially with kānuka to establish habitats suitable for native plants and animals.

Through numerous ecological restoration and research projects currently underway with Lincoln University, Ngāi Tahu Farming has already substantially increased the number of native habitats and plants on the Canterbury Plains. Progress is well underway but patience is required as it does take time for plants to grow and become big enough to make a visual impact. The team is actively engaged in research that is improving understanding of the ecology of the native habitats, assessing the interaction of native habitats and surrounding farmland, and exploring and implementing effective and efficient ecological restoration practices. This is in addition to research and mahi that has been carried out on the operations side including efficient irrigation management, reduction of nitrate leaching, and initiatives to offset climate change.

Andrew Priest
CEO, Ngāi Tahu Farming