The East Taranaki Environment Trust was set up by Karen and Bob Schumacher in 2005.
It is a registered charitable trust dedicated to protecting kiwis and their forest home through pest management. It operates northeast of Mount Egmont/Taranaki, about 30 kilometres east of Inglewood, and its main focus is to protect native species in their original natural locations.
Those species include western brown kiwi, New Zealand falcon/karearea, kereru, fernbird/matata, North Island robin/toutouwai, tui, bellbird/korimako, whitehead/tataeko, bats/pekapeka and kokopu.
The Trust’s vision is to have 1000 pair of kiwi under protected from predators by 2020. (We believe we have over the 500 pair already and are due for an official population count this year)
The Trust works closely with conservation experts from different agencies and organisations, including the Department of Conservation (DOC), Taranaki Regional Council and WWF – New Zealand, to ensure best practices are used. It pioneers innovative new technologies to bring pest populations under control. Along with its work on kiwi, the Trust is also working to re-introduce kokako.
Size of area under protection
The Trust manages about 13,000 hectares of land, both private and public. Along with protecting kiwi—our national icon—it is also committed to increasing biodiversity by having a landscape ecosystem management philosophy. Kiwi numbers are estimated to be 500 pairs. The project is one of the priority sites for the western brown kiwi in the taxon plan.
Like all community projects, Karen says the challenge is to ensure financial sustainability. Long term funding is critical for the success and survival of kiwi in Taranaki.
‘Locals, locals, locals. Community support would have to be the biggest success of this project,’ Karen says. ‘It has been gratifying to have the local landowners, Taranaki community, iwi, Taranaki Regional Council, Stratford District Council, New Plymouth District Council and DOC all supporting this project.’ As well, the Trust has partnership relations with the DOC, the regional council and the Waitara Maori Women’s Welfare League.
‘Our ecosystem management has high levels of acceptance with the diverse range of people and groups we deal with,’ Karen says. ‘It has made it easier for everyone to come on board.’
The Trust now also has an excellent track and hut network, which makes the ground work successful.
The one most important thing
The one most important thing, says Karen, is being able to make a difference to the kiwi population in Taranaki. It’s the reports and sightings of increasing kiwi numbers.
In mid-2007, the Trust received an environmental award from the Taranaki Regional Council for its work protecting and enhancing biodiversity.
If you would like to learn more about the East Taranaki Environment Trust and its work, or volunteer your efforts, you can contact the team at:
Phone: 06 756 8925
Postal address: PO Box 126
Office: 37 Rimu Street, Inglewood