Abel Tasman National Park – A National Treasure
New Zealand’s National Parks are “areas… that contain scenery of such distinctive quality, ecological systems, or natural features so beautiful, unique, or scientifically important that their preservation is in the national interest”. These are places so special, and with such unique wildlife and plant life, that they are protected by law.
Abel Tasman is New Zealand’s smallest National Park at 22,530 hectares (over 55,670 acres) and stretches from the coastline inland. It was established in 1942, following a campaign to protect the area from further logging, making Abel Tasman New Zealand’s fourth Park to be created. During the campaign, land was sold to the government in order to establish the Park, however some areas within the Park are still privately-owned, for example at Awaroa and Torrent Bay. The Tonga Island Marine Reserve was established in 1993 along the central coastline of the Park to protect the marine life found there.
Today there are 13 National Parks. It is provided in the law for free public entry and access to the Parks. The law also requires the landscape and native plants and animals be preserved, and for introduced species to be removed where possible, protecting these rare eco-systems for future generations to enjoy.