Lyttleton Port Company – Port Saddle ecological restoration

Lyttelton Port Company (LPC) have undertaken a long-term partnership with the Banks Peninsula Conservation Trust (BPCT) centred on the Port Saddle Ecological Restoration Project. The Port Saddle is a 17-ha site owned by LPC, situated on the doorstep of the Lyttelton community and forms part of the Port Hills much used recreational areas.

The purpose of the project is ecological protection and enhancement of the indigenous flora and fauna. Seven years of on-site restoration activities including invasive weed and pest control and native planting has achieved measurable positive outcomes on the ground, particularly in supporting native bird species. The increasing presence of bush and plantings has led to more sightings of keruru/ wood pigeon and korimako / bellbirds in Lyttelton, while the creation of suitable habitats and the provision of food sources have contributed to the growth and sustainability of these bird populations. Additionally, the restoration efforts have attracted the return of the tûî, absent from the area for 40 years.

The Port Saddle project provides opportunities for local school children to learn about and actively contribute to restoration work enabling an active role in biodiversity protection and enhancement in the future. As a popular recreation area for both mountain bikers and walkers, locals are increasingly aware of the restoration efforts and feel invested in the protection and enhancement of it. This has enabled LPC to connect in a positive way with residents, develop meaningful relationships and give back to the local community.

There are plans to formalise the long-term protection of the Port Saddle through a perpetual BPCT Conservation Covenant. This aligns well with LPC’s biodiversity positive ambition and initial steps towards Task Force for Nature Related Disclosures. Budget is approved by the LPC Board each fiscal year for restoration activities and for continuing principal sponsorship of the BPCT. This commitment reflects LPC’s recognition that biodiversity loss is a significant issue for Aotearoa / New Zealand and the Port’s intention to shift from a position of minimising effects to a net gain in biodiversity outcomes.