Tavora Reserve, near Palmerston in East Otago, was the second reserve purchased by the Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust in 1993. It had the dubious distinction of being among the most modified yellow-eyed penguin habitats on the Otago coast. Intensive farming practices over the decades had destroyed much of the natural vegetation. ‘Tavora’ is an ancient Maori name for penguin.
Since its purchase the Trust has put great effort into improving and enhancing the breeding habitat for yellow-eyed penguins. Some of the early plantings at the south beach in 1994-96 were carried out by Mainland Cheese staff, the Trust’s original and principal sponsor. To this day they are known as the Mainland plantings.
As well as the plantings for penguins, there has been an emphasis since 2001 on restoring the beach and dune system to its natural state. Essential to this process is the replacement of introduced marram grass with the native golden sedge or pikao.
Other native dune species have also been planted, including shore spurge (Euphorbia glauca), sand tussock (Austrofestuca littoralis) and sand coprosma (Coprosma acerosa). Dune plantings and riparian plantings alongside the Tavora Creek are continuing. The earlier plantings are now up to 3m tall and beginning to form a closed canopy along the access track beside the creek.
- Tavora Guided Walk (pdf 2.3Mb)