Forest-clad hills on the eastern side of Wellington harbour benefit from the efforts of the Remutaka Forest Park Trust.
The Remutaka Forest Park Trust (RFPT)has been operating since 1988. Initially set up to support the newly formed Department of Conservation (1987) in the building of assets in the park. The RFPT soon moved to doing predator control, Restoration of habitat and reintroduced of kiwi and mistletoe to the park.
The RFPT has 107 members and 149 volunteers delivering environmental programs. One of the Trust’s projects focuses on brown kiwi. It began in 2002 when DOC’s then coordinator for the Kiwi Recovery Group, Paul Jansen, impressed with the success of theTrust’s voluntary predator control, suggested working towards the reintroduction of kiwi into the Park. The department authorised the release of kiwi in October 2005, and the first birds were released into the Park, from captivity, in May and August 2006. In 2009,the Trust then went to Haurturu/Little Barrier Island in the Hauraki Gulf, and translocated 20 adult kiwi to supplement the existing population.
A team of more than 149 volunteers give their time to help with predator trapping,distance monitoring of the kiwi and caring for the birds. A smaller group of Trust members are responsible for organising the releases, advocacy and liaising with other government agencies and community groups.
The goal is to reintroduce other native species and create an area of forest that supports the existing and translocated species in the park.
Size of area under protection
The area under protection is the Turere and Whakanui Valleys and surrounding areas covering 7000 hectares with an additional 3000ha now trapped using A24s, in
collaboration with DOC and MOA Conservation Trust. The Trust uses DOC 200 traps (for stoats) and DOC 250 traps (for ferrets and wild cats) and A24 self-resetting traps for rats. following DOC best practice.
One of the biggest challenges is maintaining a solid core of volunteers to do the ‘not cool stuff’—those tasks outside of the ‘going bush’ activities most people enjoy.
Another challenge is sourcing and applying for sufficient funding to cover all the projects and activities the Trust wishes to offer the community.
A third challenge is educating the public about the risk their dogs pose to kiwi, and that dogs need to be under control at all times
The greatest success for the Trust is having sufficient volunteers with a strong sense of commitment, ownership and involvement in the kiwi work, who are happy to keep giving their time to help ensure the well-being of kiwi. Most have been recruited through word-of-mouth, via tramping clubs and other related groups, and some also contribute financially to the Trust, through membership subscriptions.
The Remutaka Forest Park Trust is grateful for funding from Kiwis for kiwi, Pub Charity Inc, the Wellington Community Trust, Hutt City Council, the Hutt Mana Trust, the Ron D & EA Greenwood Environment Trust, the Colin Webster-Watson Trust, Nikau Foundation, Pharazyn Trust, Four Winds, DOC Community Fund, and all those people who sponsor a trap, tree, kiwi or transmitter.
One most important thing
The one piece of advice the group would give others starting a similar project, however big you think it will become – double it! In time , resources and costs , but the rewards are priceless. Keeping kiwi wild in Wellington.
The Trust is always keen to hear from people wanting to lend a helping hand in many areas, not just in the bush! Anyone wanting to volunteer her, or his time or expertise is welcome to contact Melody or Rosemary
Contact Person: Rosemary Thompson
Phone: 04 972 0920 / 0210443279
Contact Person: Melody McLaughlin
Phone: 04 5646213 / 0274524982