Latest News

Back to Latest News back


Cardrona Alpine Resort halts chairlift construction to protect native lizards

Cardrona Alpine Resort halts chairlift construction to protect native lizards
December 30, 2019

Cardrona Alpine Resort have halted the installation of their new Pringles Chairlift, planned for a 2020 launch, as the site is home to some of New Zealand’s rarest lizards, including the nationally vulnerable Orange-spotted gecko and Lakes skink species.

Department of Conservation (DOC) has welcomed Cardrona Alpine Resort Limited’s decision to halt chairlift construction as it would disturb what is considered to be an extremely significant site for New Zealand’s native lizards.

DOC’s are excited about the discovery of this lizard stronghold within Otago’s Cardrona Alpine Resort with DOC’s Southern South Island Operations Director, Aaron Fleming advising “DOC commends the resort for their cooperation to ensure this wildlife refuge is protected. We’ve worked closely together to examine all possible options but, faced with a site of such significance for conservation, the decision was made on 19th  December 2019, to decline their application for a Wildlife Act Authority.

“With hundreds of lizards across five protected species (including two threatened species) affected by this development, the impact of this development on lizards is unparalleled by any other Wildlife Act Authority applied for or granted nationally.

Fleming added “some of these lizards have the same threat classification as great spotted kiwi and whio/blue duck. While birds, at least, have the ability to fly from development, lizards do not.

Ecologist Mandy Tocher, who spent last summer researching the lizard populations on the mountain, said all the species of lizards were found elsewhere in New Zealand but not all together as they were at Cardrona.

"It is an incredible place in terms of lizard diversity. The soils are thick, there is a lot of invertebrate life, it is a very warm place, it is sheltered from the southerly winds and it has a whole range of rock habitats which would foster diversity as well.”

Cardrona Alpine Resort General Manager Bridget Legnavsky advised that a significant effort was made by the Cardrona team, working closely with scientists and DOC, to create a plan that would mitigate any potential impact on the lizard species caused by the lift construction.

Legnavsky noted that her team continued to work throughout this year with one of New Zealand’s leading herpetologists on a detailed study of the population and a lizard management plan and sought authorisation from DOC under the Wildlife Act so it could proceed with the lift installation.

However, because of the high significance of the area and the lizard species involved, DOC made the decision to not approve the Wildlife Act authorisation.

Fleming added “DOC will continue to work with Cardrona Alpine Resort Limited to determine how they can change their existing chairlift plans to ensure the area’s biodiversity is well protected.”

Legnavsky stated that although Cardrona Alpine Resort were disappointed in not being able to install the proposed Pringle’s lift, they supported the position DOC had taken to protect the rare and endangered lizards.

The resort had surveyed other lift locations and are now considering other options for a new lift to be installed for Winter 2021.  

Wildlife Act 1953

It is an offence under the Wildlife Act to disturb, salvage, or kill protected wildlife. The purpose of the Wildlife Act is to ensure the protection and control of wildlife.

For information on Wildlife Act go to

Images of vulnerable Orange-spotted gecko (centre) and Lakes skink species (above) courtesy of Ecologist Mandy Tocher, who spent last summer researching the lizard populations on the mountain.

Related Articles

29th December 2019 - Falls Festival at Lorne cancelled due to extreme weather conditions

13th December 2019 - New Zealand Commission clears Cardrona to acquire Treble Cone

15th May 2019 - Skills Active Aotearoa shares Cardrona Alpine Resort’s workforce development practices

25th July 2018 - Cardrona Alpine Resort set to double in size

29th May 2018 - Cardrona Alpine Resort to open this weekend

23rd March 2015 - New biking event at Cardrona Alpine Resort

5th May 2014 - Snow Sports NZ and Cardrona Alpine Resort sign partnership agreement

Asking a small favour
We hope that you value the news that we publish so while you're here can we ask for your support?

The news we publish at is independent, credible (we hope) and free for you to access, with no pay walls and no annoying pop-up ads.

However, as an independent publisher, can we ask for you to support us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine - if you don't already do so.

Published bi-monthly since 1997, the printed Australasian Leisure Management differs from this website in that it publishes longer, in-depth and analytical features covering aquatics, attractions, entertainment, events, fitness, parks, recreation, sport, tourism and venues management.

Subscriptions cost just $90 a year.

Click here to subscribe.


supplier directory

The Complete Guide to Leisure Industry Products & Services.

See the directory see all


Gladstone Health & Leisure (Gladstone MRM Pty Ltd Australia) is a leading supplier of leisure management and fitness software and is endorsed by leading health and fitness professionals and…

read more

Access / Billing / Fitness / Technology / Venues


Hadley/Series Australia Pty Ltd

Hadley Australia and Series Australia Pty Ltd are the leading quality theatre chair manufacturers in the southern hemisphere. The businesses work closely with architects, interior designers and…

read more

Arts / Culture / Design / Entertainment / Venues


WATERPLAY Solutions Corp

Whether your goal is increasing your centre's revenues or creating an engaging environment, why not add play to your project? If you're looking for stylish aquatic play features, kid-tested…

read more

Aquatics / Attractions / Play / Recreation / Waterparks


Summit Fitness

Summit Fitness Equipment is now part of NovoFit - see

read more

Fitness / Recreation / Technology / Wellness


BH Fitness

BH Fitness, part of the long-standing and iconic bike manufacturer BH Group, is a global leader in fitness equipment for both Commercial and Home markets. The company, with the headquarters based in…

read more

Fitness / Recreation / Sport / Technology / Wellness



A leading designer and manufacturer of innovative waterslides and attractions, Australian Waterslides and Leisure (AWL) is also able to advise clients in the areas of concept and design, feasibility…

read more

Aquatics / Attractions / Play / Waterparks



We are the leading providers of kids fun multi-sports programs for Sport and Recreation Centres. Programs cover twelve common sports as well as Gross Motor Skill Development and suit children from as…

read more

Fitness / Play / Recreation / Sport / Wellness


The P.A. People

The P.A. People is a specialist integrator and contractor in sound reinforcement, audio visual systems, performance lighting and production communications. Over its almost 50 year history the company…

read more

Entertainment / Events / Sport / Technology / Venues


get listed with our suppliers directory

Get your business noticed in our targeted directory. Viewed by 10,000 industry professionals per week!

list your business