… has been and still is very conservation minded, starting back with my grandfather.
He started talks with the Department of Conservation (hereafter known as D.O.C) about gifting Nikau Palm Gully to them for a scientific reserve which at the time was part of our family farm.
The main reason being that the Nikau Palms growing there are the most Southern Nikau Palms on mainland New Zealand growing naturally. The Nikau Palm is the only native palm in New Zealand.
Some say that when Maori came to New Zealand, they looked in vain for a familiar tree and seeing the Nikau, compared it to the coconut tree of their Pacific homeland. One translation of ʻNikauʼ is ʻwithout nuts’, in remembrance of the coconut.
After my grandfathers passing my father completed the gifting of Nikau Palm Gully to D.O.C which has now become a scenic reserve.
It’s a funny thing that you canʼt just give land to the crown there has to be a transaction to complete the process. So the family were presented with a 10 cent stamp on behalf of Her Majesty the Queen as a sale agreement for the land to pass to the state.
Nikau Palm Gully rests above Dan Rogers Marine Reserve.
Back in the early 1980ʼs
at the first meeting in Akaroa to talk about the protection of The Hectors/NZ Dolphin and the setting up of a Marine Mammal Sanctuary, aside from Green Peace and the scientists who were there in support of it, out of approximately 200 other people my father was one of only two in our local community who spoke up in favour of it going ahead.
Over my fathers lifetime he has planted 100ʼs of native trees on the family farm, de-stocked and locked up part of it for regeneration undoing some of the destruction that was done by early settlers.
My father has also been a strong advocate for the proposed Dan Rogers Marine Reserve in Akaroa Harbour which has been successfully established in 2014.
In 2014 The Hamilton Family Trust
sold 97 hectares (240 acres)
of extremely important conservation land to D.O.C
just above the Dan Rogers Marine Reserve. This land will be added to The Nikau Palm Gully Reserve. As a family we felt that the best use of this land was to go into conservation to enhance the new marine reserve rather than see the land go into private hands.
This has created a protected ecosystem from the sea floor to the ridge line, there a very few areas in New Zealand where this is the case.
With myself continuing on with the family business of Dolphin Swimming we will keep on contributing to research and education on The Hectors/NZ Dolphins.