Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication. 


A private partner is investing $930 000 in a Department of Conservation-led programme aimed to bring thousands of seabirds back to Hawke's Bay and restore key environmental sites across the province.

Date:  21 December 2010

A private partner is investing $930 000 in a Department of Conservation-led programme aimed to bring thousands of seabirds back to Hawke's Bay and restore key environmental sites across the province, focussing initially on the Maungaharuru - Tutira district.

The first phase of the ambitious restoration project includes work to progress re-establishment of rare seabird colonies in predator proof sanctuaries in the Hawkes Bay. The programme also includes large-scale programmes to rebuild selected forest and wetland habitats integrated with wide scale predator control.

The 10 year “Returning the beating wings of Maungaharuru” programme sees DOC partnering with a range of private conservation groups, iwi, local authorities, farmers and community trusts.

The project has secured an initial $930 000 investment from the Aotearoa Foundation - a philanthropic trust set up by interests associated with American businessman and Cape Kidnappers land owner Julian Robertson.

DOC director-general Al Morrison is warmly welcoming the support of the Aotearoa Foundation - along with the backing of other business and community groups for the long-term project.

“This is great news for conservation - when the private sector, community groups and government organisations join together to invest in the environment, we will be rewarded by region-wide, and even national, benefits.

“This exciting project aims to restore the birdlife, forests and wetlands of Hawke's Bay. That’s important because these are the things that deliver the fertile soils and quality water that the Bay’s world famous farms and vineyards are built on.”

The programme involves ground breaking bird breeding techniques which aim to re-establish once plentiful sea bird colonies in Hawke's Bay’s hills and coastline.

Along with seabirds, the project will also develop breeding populations of threatened birds such as kiwi, kaka, kokako and kakariki in selected sites across the province.

The predator-proof Cape Kidnappers Sanctuary - New Zealand’s largest privately owned wildlife sanctuary - will play a key role in the bird breeding programme.

The project also involves large-scale tree planting, waterway protection and integrated pest control programmes at a number of sites primarily at areas around the Boundary Stream Reserve in the Maungaharuru Range and near-by Lake Tutira.

Additional information

The “Returning the beating wings of Maungaharuru” project brings together a number of exisiting conservation programmes in Hawke's Bay. These projects involve a wide range of range of private and community groups, along with DOC managed sites. They include:

  • Boundary Stream - a DOC managed 800 hectare mainland island – home to threatened kiwi, kokako and New Zealand falcon.
  • Cape Kidnappers Sanctuary - New Zealand’s largest private wildlife sanctuary featuring a predator proof fence across two farms on Cape Kidnappers. In the past three years a range of species ranging from kiwi and rare petrels to local weta have been reintroduced to the sanctuary. The Cape is also home to Southern Hemisphere’s largest mainland gannet breeding colony.
  • Lake Tutira - a large wetland sanctuary, and popular recreational fishing lake managed by DOC, Hawke's Bay Regional Council, local iwi and Fish and Game NZ.
  • Opouahi Scenic Reserve - a fenced safe haven for raising kiwi chicks and jointly managed by the Environment, Conservation and Outdoor Education Trust and DOC.


Chris Pitt
Senior Media Advisor, DOC
+64 4 495 8593 or +64 27 4846 810

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