An Isolated Haven of Bio Diversity
While New Zealand is a relatively small country, our role in preserving global biodiversity is surprisingly important. Cut off from other landmasses around 80 million years ago our country became an isolated haven, where unique plants and birds were free to evolve and thrive. 80% of New Zealand’s flowering plants and 90% of our insects are unique to us - including the world’s largest insect, the weta.
Our country is also home to the world’s best collection of podocarps (an ancient type of conifer), the only alpine parrot: the kea, and the last remaining sphenodon: the tuatara (from a reptile family extinct elsewhere for over 60 million years).
Looking after the evolutionary treasures that make our country unique is a priority for all New Zealanders, including our wine producers. In their role as kaitiaki (guardians) of our environment, New Zealand’s wine producers take a leading role in conservation of wildlife and the environment, in their vineyards and beyond.
Biodiversity initiatives in New Zealand vineyards include:
strengthening populations of native hawks (kahu) and falcons (kārearea) and using them to drive away crop eating birds,
restoring native habitats, including forest and wetlands,
creating wildlife corridors, and
reintroducing native species back into restored environments.
At the other end of the biodiversity spectrum, wine producers are working to protect native yeast strains that occur naturally in vineyards and wineries. Native strains are used in winemaking to encourage distinctive characters in the resulting wines, enhancing New Zealand’s international reputation unique wines.
Wine producers see significant economic benefits by supporting and strengthening biodiversity in their local environments. Their work enables the biological control of pests, diseases and weeds, enhanced soil quality and stability, and improved crop health, without having to employ manual method