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Published: 2004-12-16 00:00:00

Environment Waikato has granted $12,787 towards development of a management and restoration plan for Te Kauri Park Scenic Reserve.

The Te Kauri-Waikuku Trust manages the project which is focused in the 1100 ha reserve near Kawhia. The reserve is a remnant of lowland podocarp, kauri and mixed hardwood forest, but forest health is poor and many species of native birds such as kiwi and kokako have become locally extinct.

The Trust aims to restore the forest through pest control and reintroduce locally extinct flora and fauna, with young people playing an active role and working with a network of partners to pool knowledge and restore biodiversity. The long-term goal is to reduce critical pests to minimise their impact on the natural environment and minimise further invasions.

The project has funding from the Ministry of Education’s Learning Experiences Outside the Classroom programme and the Trust is looking to regional, national and international funding as well as corporate sponsorship for the restoration programme.

More than 250 people attended the launch of the project and it has strong support from a wide range of agencies, community groups and other stakeholders.

The Trust was formed by the Hamilton Junior Naturalist Club which has been providing environmental education at the site for 40 years, and thousands of Junats, school children and other groups have stayed at Te Kauri Lodge since 1963.

Environment Committee Chairman Paula Southgate said that supporting community-led initiatives to control pests and restore ecosystems was one of the most cost effective ways Environment Waikato could help bring native birds back to the area.