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Protecting our precious places

Kaharoa Kokako near Rotorua

Amplifying New Zealand’s original song

Working together is the future of conservation

The Kaharoa Kokako Trust is a group of volunteers dedicated to protecting kokako that live in the Kaharoa Conservation Area near Rotorua.

By reducing the number of possums and rats in the forest, the community-based Trust has enabled the number of kokako to grow.

The Trust draws much of its support from the rural community of Kaharoa and works closely with the Department of Conservation.

Kokako are now spreading to private land adjacent to the Kaharoa Conservation Area including QEII covenants owned by Winston Fleming and Vernon Cotter.

Pest control in a covenant Photo: Margaret Horner


Right: Long time QEII covenantor Winston Fleming is a keen supporter of kokako protection at Kaharoa with pest control being undertaken in the regenerating forest in his covenant.








With funding from the Biodiversity Condition Fund and contributions from QEII and Environment Bay of Plenty, volunteers and contractors applied pindone and Feratox® (encapsulated cyanide) during October 2009 to control ship rats and possums in the covenanted areas.

This coincided with the kokako breeding season to ensure the birds were safe for another nesting period.

Pest control in a covenant Photo: Margaret Horner


Right: Greg Corbett from Environment Bay of Plenty (front) and Guus Knopers from Wildlife Contractors (behind) were involved in undertaking the pest control in the covenants.









They were assisted by Kaharoa Kokako Trust volunteers.

The Kaharoa Kokako Trust will monitor the survival of known pairs of kokako, newly recruited juvenile kokako and any additional kokako that disperse from the Kaharoa Conservation Area to the covenants during the next 3-5 years.

Monitoring kokako Photo: Margaret Horner

Above: Monitoring kokako in the forest.

Environment Bay of Plenty will monitor the populations of possums and ship rats.

By encouraging community buy-in to the project and engendering widespread support for saving kokako, the Kaharoa Kokako Trust is recognised as a successful model for other community conservation groups to follow when enhancing our environment.

Translocation of kokako Photo: Margaret Horner

Above: Kaharoa now contributes to the national recovery of kokako nationwide by providing birds for translocation to other protected areas.

In September 2009, seven kokako were captured at Kaharoa and released on Secretary Island in Fiordland.

This is a significant project by the Department of Conservation as it marks the return of kokako to the South Island where they had become extinct.

Kaharoa Kokako Trust ecologist, Carmel Richardson Photo: Margaret Horner

Above: Kaharoa Kokako Trust ecologist, Carmel Richardson, identified kokako spread onto neighbouring properties through a Biodiversity Condition Fund grant for a monitoring project.

Her observations showed that six pairs of kokako had established territory on private land adjacent to the Kaharoa Conservation Area. These are the properties now being targeted for pest control by the Trust.

‘If conservation of our endangered species is to work effectively in New Zealand, it must involve government agencies, community groups, private companies and individual landowners working together for common goals. At Kaharoa we are now on the cusp of making this collective approach a reality.’

- Anne Managh, Chairperson, Kaharoa Kokako Trust

Photos: Margaret Horner

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To find out more about the work of the Kaharoa Kokako Trust, visit

Open SpaceTM Magazine No. 78, March 2010 © QEII National Trust

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