Protecting the Dun Mountain and the Mineral Belt

Dun Mountain has a presence in Nelson as it forms the skyline beyond our inner hills and valleys. It is also where the upper catchment of the Maitai River begins and is part of what is known as the Mineral Belt.

Mt Malita wilding conifers

The Dun Mountain contains many varieties of little known plants that are found nowhere else on earth but on the Dun Mountain and the Mineral Belt such as small herbaceous plants and hebe. The area contains beech forest and Matai forest, and traverses open limestone country, as well as passing in places through rich forested peaks.

The Mineral Belt area was formed by rocks known as ultramafic, which once formed the floor of the ocean and were thrust up as the continent of Gondwana around 280 million years ago!  The area is unique in New Zealand due to its diverse mineral content. This includes argillite, known to Maori as pakohe, which was used to make adzes.

It is the high mineral content that gives the soil a reddish brown colour, and imparts the name Dun Mountain. The area is sparsely vegetated with stunted plants that are found only here as very few species can survive in these heavily concentrated mineral soils. The area supports over 28 plant species that are classified as threatened, rare or that only grow in a limited range.

Unfortunately one type of plant that does survive well here are wilding conifers. Nelson City Council and its partners including DOC are focused on the control of wilding conifers in this treasured landscape.

Nelson Nature is working to protect the precious ecosystems of the Dun Mountain, Mineral Belt and Limestone outcrops through:

  • the eradication of wilding pines and gorse from the mineral belt
  • a reduction in goat populations
  • improving our  understanding of what invasive species like Spanish Heath have on this ecosystem.

Experience the Dun Mountain on foot.