News & Events

Palmy’s Apollo Park recognised as Butterfly Sanctuary

Friday December 18 2020

Palmerston North’s Apollo Park has received certification that it is a great example of a butterfly habitat.

Photo shows mayor and local volunteers receiving the certificate at Apollo Park.

The Moths and Butterflies of New Zealand Trust handed over the official plaque to the Mayor Grant Smith and community volunteers at Apollo Park on Saturday.

Jacqui Knight, the Trust's founding trustee, says it’s concerned that butterfly habitat is on the decline and most people in NZ no longer recognise any butterfly species besides the monarch and the cabbage white.

“We are seeing far less of our endemic species every year, and they are so special! Nowhere else in the world can you find the beautiful NZ red admiral or the forest ringlet. And many of our moth species are spectacular too.”

Since 2009 the Trust has been searching up and down the country for examples of good butterfly habitat. Those granted certification must provide assurances that they host at least three different species and provide other requirements that butterflies and moths need: pesticide-free, shelter and maximum sun.

Mayor Grant Smith says it’s great for Palmy to receive the recognition.

“This award really shows the power of our community and their hard work and commitment in transforming this park into a sanctuary for our native butterflies. Paul Vandenberg especially deserves special mention for noticing the butterflies hibernating back in 2012, and making an effort to ensure there’s more plants to attract even more butterflies each year. A number of community groups have gotten on board with this special work which has seen Apollo Park nicknamed Butterfly Park due to its regular guests, which can be spotted between December and April.”

Grant Smith says the amazing community effort meant that when the playground was renovated in 2017, it too now has butterfly features to pay tribute to the park's unique character.

Trust chairman Maurice Mehlhopt reviewed the park for certification and said it is an impressive park.

“It’s great to see that this habitat in a city park is being created and maintained by volunteers.”