About the Trust
Purpose of the Kaharoa Kōkako Trust
The Kaharoa Kōkako Trust was formed in 1997 by a group of local residents who wanted to save the few kokako that remained in the area.
By reducing the number of possums and ship rats in the Kaharoa Conservation Area, we have enabled kōkako numbers to grow.
The increasing number of kōkako at Kaharoa is living proof of how the community can play a vital role in enhancing the environment.
The Trust works closely with the Department of Conservation to achieve these successful results. This relationship is formalised through a Memorandum of Understanding.
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How did the Kaharoa Kōkako Trust get started?
From 1988 to 1997, Kaharoa Forest was part of an important national study by Landcare Research and the Department of Conservation. Results showed that predation by possums and ship rats were the main cause for the widespread decline of kokako in New Zealand forests (Innes, J. et al 1999).
Following completion of this experiment, the Department of Conservation had no immediate funding available for continued pest control. Kaharoa residents Peter Davey and Rachael Vellinga began discussion with DOC about alternative pest control arrangements.
In 1997 volunteers established 160 bait stations throughout 300 ha of Kaharoa Forest. After a strong start, the Trust was formally incorporated Jan 1998 based on a Memorandum of Understanding with the Department of Conservation.
In 2000, pest control was extended to the Onaia Ecological Area, increasing total bait stations to over 550.
The main activities of the Trust relate to pest control of possums and ship rats. This labour-intensive work is carried out by groups of dedicated volunteers. During the nesting season bait stations are filled with poison bait. These bait stations are connected by a large network of tracks that must be maintained every year.
2017 Pest control in the Kaharoa Conservation Area
The Kaharoa Kōkako Trust commenced possum and rat control in the Kaharoa Conservation Area in September 2017 using Pindone or diphacinone in bait stations, and Feratox encapsulated cyanide in Bio-bags.
The toxin was placed in bait stations within the forest and was carried out by suitably qualified personnel in strict accordance with Department of Conservation and Medical Officer of Health guidelines.
All bait remaining in the bait stations was removed at the end of November 2017.
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The Trust also conducts monitoring of kōkako numbers to determine the size and spread of the kōkako population. The results of monitoring shows that the kōkako numbers have increased significantly since the Trust began pest control in 1997.
Another major role of the Kaharoa Kōkako Trust is to ensure community buy-in to the project and encourage wide-spread support.
Kaharoa Kōkako Trust is widely recognised as a successful model for other community conservation groups to follow.
Kaharoa Kokako Trust Awards
2001 - Winner of Trustpower Spirit of Rotorua Heritage & Environment Award
2005 - Department of Conservation (Bay of Plenty) Outstanding Contribution to Conservation Award
2005 - Trustpower Spirit of Rotorua Award - commendation in Heritage & Environment
2006 – Overall winner of Environment Bay of Plenty Conservation Award
2007 – North Island Kōkako Recovery Group acknowledgement to the Trust's significant contribution to the Kokako Recovery Programme
2008 - Runner up Trustpower Spirit of Rotorua Heritage & Environment Award
2010 – Green Ribbon Award (supreme winner)