Helping develop Best Practice conservation processes
Our conversion of 4,000 ha of former pine forest back into native forest is, we believe, the largest project of its kind in New Zealand. As such it is providing a useful template for this process that can be applied nationally. When we started this mahi there was not a proven methodology for achieving this. But we are now confident of our methodology, results and costings.
The Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, the Department of Conservation, the Biodiversity Hawke’s Bay Strategy (to which the Forest Lifeforce Restoration Trust is a signatory) and Forest and Bird all stress the current need for New Zealand to develop a comprehensive strategy to conserve our native biodiversity for the future. In Hawke’s Bay the early colonisers, starting with Māori but rapidly expanded upon with the arrival of Europeans, did a vigorous job of removing the native cover from the land.
Our pine-to-natives conversion project goes some way toward reversing this and providing a safe refuge for native biodiversity, of benefit to species and people that value them regionally and nationally.
The project is supported by the Regional Council in terms of its biodiversity outcomes and pest weed control outcomes.
Our work on kiwi conservation is also helping to establish best practice. Our Maungataniwha Kiwi Project has now carved out a name for itself as one of the most successful kiwi conservation initiatives in the country. Kiwisforkiwi, the only national charity dedicated to protecting kiwi, says we are now one of the most prolific contributors of eggs to Operation Nest Egg, which it describes as “a massive achievement.”
Of course, as with most success stories, it’s built on the back of some tremendous friendships and partnerships, particularly with the Cape Sanctuary, the National Kiwi Hatchery and its funder Ngāi Tahu, the Department of Conservation and Kiwis for kiwi. Kiwi conservation is not just about partnerships, it’s about community. It’s about friends, neighbours and our volunteers banding together to protect our national icon. Frequently in the dark and the cold and the pouring rain. They do it for love – literally.