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Listening ... Members of the public listen to speaker Rex Mason, of the Blandswood Residents Association, at the Peel Forest Hall on Saturday at a meeting about the future of the scenic reserve. PHOTOS: RACHAEL COMER

by Rachael Comer

Introduced wasps that can consume 8kg of insects per hectare each summer are just one of the pests destroying Peel Forest.
Wasps, stoats, ferrets and weasels were all to blame for the destruction of the 783ha natural forest, a meeting at the Peel Forest Hall on Saturday heard.
About 50 people packed the hall to listen to guest speakers and discuss the future of the scenic reserve, at a meeting organised by the members of the community concerned that something needed to be done.
Organiser Hilary Iles said the response to the meeting had been one of “delight”.
“We’re so pleased with the number of people that turned out.”
Names and addresses of people interested in helping with the future protection of the forest were taken at the meeting and were being collated, Mrs Iles said.
“The next meeting we have we will form an incorporated society and write a plan.”
The group will be known as Project Peel.
Representatives from the Department of Conservation, a pest control company, residents and a historian all spoke at the meeting.
A question and answer session was also held, giving residents a chance to have their say.
The residents’ main concern was that pests were destroying the forest’s native flora and fauna.
Project Peel will work to protect the whole of the Peel Forest Scenic Reserve, which includes Clarke Flat, Te Wanahu Flat, Dennistoun Bush and Little Mt Peel.

For more information visit: www.facebook.com/projectpeel/.