This volunteer group manages 500 hectares of native forest in the Kaimai Mamaku Conservation Park, between Tauranga and Katikati. It is a joint venture between Forest and Bird and the Aongatete Forest Restoration Trust.
The Trust was set up in 2006 by Tauranga Forest and Bird and the Katikati Rotary Club and is supported by local volunteers, Forest and Bird members, landowners and Ngai Tamawhariua who have the Kaitiaki (guardianship) role over this forest.
The aim of the project is to restore the wildlife and plant life to a part of the Kaimai Mamaku Forest Park, and demonstrate the benefits of pest control. Ultimately we would like to see widespread pest control throughout the Kaimai Ranges. The ranges are a significant carbon sink and provide substantial benefits to Western Bay of Plenty watersheds by moderating waterflows into the region. The Kaimai ranges are often subject to very heavy rainfall.
The Trust aims to provide a voice for the Kaimai ranges, and strongly supports wide spread pest control in the region. We are founding members of the Kaimai / Mamaku Catchments Forum, and of Bay Conservation Alliance
- We act ethically.
- We work for the betterment of our local community and the wider conservation movement.
- We value and support our volunteers.
- We communicate openly and honestly.
- Our reputation is important to us.
To restore the wildlife and plant life, volunteers are doing pest control which involves poisoning ship rats and possums, and maintaining trap lines for mustelids and cats. Ship rats eat native lizards and invertebrates and raid bird nests for eggs.
These rats are prey for stoats and feral cats, so they attract additional pest animals to forest.
Possum are a problem throughout the Kaimai Ranges – they also raid bird nests and strip the forest of much of its foliage.
Indeed, they have eaten so much vegetation that their favourite plants are now gone or going: tree fuchsia and broadleaf are gone, King fern, raukaua, tree rata and kamahi are dead or dying , and kohekohe is under attack.
With all these holes in the forest canopy, wind is knocking over the tall tawa trees. As new seedlings and saplings grow, deer mow the forest floor clean.
However pest control has made a difference in Aongatete. Numbers of birds are increasing, and the volume of insects and spiders has increased dramatically, which means more food for birds. With fewer possums, new green shoots and leaves are appearing on kamahi and kohekohe. King fern and raukaua are regenerating. Riflemen have reappeared and robins are common.
To date our volunteers have cut 55 kilometres of bait lines and put up 1200 bait stations, and a ring of stoat traps now circles the entire pest control area.
Our goal is to expand the forest restoration area to 1000 hectares which will allow the translocation of more bird species once pest numbers are sufficiently reduced.
See “Background and History of the Aongatete Forest Project” to learn how we got to where we are.
You can pick up one of our brochures at any of the following locations:-
- Aongatete Outdoor Education Centre – Top of Wrights Road, Aongatete
- Katikati Library and Visitor Information Centre – 36 Main Rd, Katikati
- DOC – Tauranga Office – 253 Chadwick Rd West, Greerton West, Tauranga
- Mt Maunganui Visitor Information Centre – 1 Adams Ave, Mt Maunganui
- Tauranga i-SITE – 95 Willow St, Tauranga
- Tauranga Library – 91 Willow St, Tauranga
- Omokoroa Library – McDonnell St, Omokoroa