Indications are that the kiwi population on our property in the Maungataniwha Native Forest is of regional significance. In 2005 trust members discovered a remnant kiwi population, unusual as the property had no history of pest control. Pete Shaw consulted with Dr John McLennan, a leading kiwi scientist, and what eventuated was the Maungataniwha Kiwi Project.
We have established two sanctuary areas within the Maungataniwha Native Forest where predator populations are being reduced in an effort to provide a safe place for a variety of native bird species to breed.
The first is a 600-hectare sanctuary centred on Waiau Camp while the second is a 400-hectare swathe of bushland bordering the Te Hoe River.
The 4,000-hectare Maungataniwha Pine Forest adjacent to our Maungataniwha Native Forest property was once mature native forest. It was logged progressively and then burned before being put under pine.
We took ownership of the block with the aim of converting the pine plantation back to regenerating native forest. The last pine trees were felled in November 2018 and over 3,500 hectares are now being re-converted back to native forest.
We have worked with the Cape Sanctuary near Napier to translocate small native bird species to there from the Maungataniwha Pine Forest.
North Island Robins, North Island Tomtits and Whitehead were captured with mist nets and became the founding colony of their species there. They have since bred.
Supplementary translocations are undertaken occasionally to enhance the genetics within the population now establishing itself at the Cape.
Whio, commonly known as Blue Duck, are highly endangered, threatened by predation – mainly by stoats - and loss of habitat. This is a localised species holding territories on fast-flowing mountain rivers in forested areas.
Classified as ‘endangered’ by the International Union of Conservation for Nature (IUCN) and as ‘nationally vulnerable’ by DOC, the whio – named for the high-pitched whistle made by the male - has been severely impacted by exotic predators such as stoats.
One of our principal projects in the Maungataniwha Native Forest involves increasing the wild-grown population of kakabeak (Clianthus maximus) - an extremely rare type of shrub.
We collect seeds and propagate them both within our two protected propagation enclosures near Waiau Camp (designed to prevent access by browsing rabbits, hares and ungulates such as deer, pigs and goats) and at other sites around Hawke’s Bay.
Pest control is an important aspect of our activity. It’s a highly resource-intensive process, yet incredibly important to protecting and enhancing the native flora and fauna and helping to expand the populations of the various endangered species we have on our properties.
We have contributed to the ecological aspects of the teaching syllabus at St Cuthbert’s College in Auckland by commissioning a series of reports relating to a tract of land the school owns in the Eastern Bay of Plenty.
St Cuthbert’s bought Kahunui, a property of predominantly native forest located in the Waiotahi Valley, in 2006 to provide a remote campus. It aims to advance the academic and social development of its students by providing an opportunity to learn through experience.