A plan to create a predator-free zone along a stretch of the West Coast may ensure people can hear birds sing at dawn again.
Forest and Bird and local West Coast conservation and animal protection groups are trying to restore the habitat of the great spotted kiwi, kea, South Island kaka, Westland petrel and other native species along the Coast Rd (State Highway 6) from Fox River to Rapahoe, north of Greymouth, and along the Paparoa Range.
West Coast Forest and Bird chairwoman Kathy Gilbert said the groups wanted to experience a full "dawn chorus" again.
The Westland petrels' breeding location was confined to an 8-kilometre stretch of coastal forest in the foothills of the Paparoa Range near Punakaiki. The Department of Conservation estimated there were about 4000 breeding pairs at the site each year.
About 15,000 great spotted kiwi were left in New Zealand, with about 30 per cent living in the Paparoa Range. Dogs and stoats were a major threat to their population.