Introduction

This project aims to protect some of our most precious taonga in a stunning and little-known area of the Whanganui National Park.

This collaborative biodiversity partnership started in 2008. Blue duck/whio, western brown kiwi, and old growth forest will be protected by the combined pest control efforts of DOC, Horizons Regional Council, landowners and iwi.

Get more information on the Kia Wharite website.

Project area

The project area is centred on the Whanganui National Park, west of Ohakune, and includes long sections of the scenic Whanganui, Retaruke and Manganui o te Ao Rivers. Horizons' pest control efforts are focused on private land, working in conjunction with landowners, while DOC focuses on crown land.

Kia Wharite project location map (JPG, 614K)

Importance of the area

Blue duck (whio) with chicks.
Blue duck/whio with chicks

The project area is home to the largest remaining population of western brown kiwi in New Zealand, the second largest stand of lowland indigenous forest in the North Island, and contains one of seven critical strongholds of the endangered blue duck/whio.

However, the long-term survival of these iconic species, and indeed the forest itself, is under threat from plant and animal pests. Possums, goats and pest plants are damaging the forest, and the bird and animal life is being decimated by the combined effects of possums, stoats, rats and feral cats.

Project plan

Over the next 10 years we plan to have:

  • the entire project area (180,000 ha) under possum and rat control, and receiving pest plant control
  • 35,000 ha receiving goat control
  • 50km of the Retaruke and Manganui o te Ao Rivers protected from stoats and cats
  • a large number of privately owned bush remnants and wetlands in the project area are fenced to prevent stock access
  • significantly increase kiwi, blue duck and other wildlife numbers and improve forest health.
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