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Protecting our precious places

Khan’s initiative protects habitat of the threatened peripatus

In 2006, students at Weber School in the Tararua District completed a research project with the help of an adult mentor.

Khan Coleman’s project involved researching the protection of an area of bush in Wimbledon with a QEII covenant.

The landowner, Brian Hales, supported him in reaching his goal. 

During Khan’s field research, he made an amazing discovery; he found two specimens of the rare peripatus.

At the age of 12, Khan won first equal place in the 2006 YHA Young Conservationist Awards for finding these caterpillar-like creatures and for his efforts in protecting their habitat.

In January, 0.3ha of primary podocarp-broadleaved forest named Khans Bush was protected by Brian with a QEII covenant.

Khans Bush covenant

Above: Khan Coleman and Brian Hales at Khans Bush, protected in perpetuity with a QEII covenant. The fence was constructed with contributions from the landowner, Horizons Regional Council and QEII. Photo: Bill Wallace

Students from Weber School laid the fence line and on each post is a nameplate of the child who laid it.

There are also a number of carved totara guardians around the covenant, representing those involved with protecting the bush including QEII and Horizons.

Carved totara guardian

Left: Khan and Brian with Khan’s carved totara guardian.


‘It is awesome that protecting this bush as a habitat for peripatus was Khan’s initiative,’ says Brian.

‘It’s all about a young boy making a discovery which created a need to protect the habitat forever.

'The children from Weber School will be able to come back in seventy years time and still find the bush here.’

The threatened peripatus

Above: The threatened peripatus (ngaokeoke, velvet worm) is an ancient forest creature in the Onychophora order, a sister group to the arthropods.

Found only in the southern hemisphere, peripatus is nocturnal and lives in leaf litter and rotten logs. Photo: Bill Wallace

You may have a special area on your farm that you wish to safeguard forever. Contact your local QEII representative ...

Open SpaceTM Magazine No. 73, July 2008 © QEII National Trust

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