Red deer are one of the species impacting the biodiversity of reserves in and around Whakatāne
Image: DOC


Three reserves in and around Whakatāne will be temporarily closed for animal control operations during July.

Date:  02 July 2024

Three prominent reserves in and around Whakatāne will be temporarily closed to all public access during July for animal control operations to protect and enhance the mauri of the ngahere/forest.

Ōhope Scenic Reserve, Kōhī Point Reserve, and Mokorua Bush Scenic Reserve are scheduled for short, staggered closures between Monday 22 July and Thursday 25 July while contractors conduct wild pig and deer control.

The work is being undertaken as part of the Whakatāne and Ōhope Sites Environmental Programme, a collaborative initiative focused on restoring and improving the biodiversity across the Whakatāne and Ōhope hillscapes.

Nine partners, including DOC, Whakatāne District Council, Toi Moana Bay of Plenty Regional Council, landowners, iwi, and hapū, are working together toward the shared vision of a healthy taiao for future generations.

Management of introduced species is core to achieving the vision of the partnership, and the wider Aotearoa New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy. Managing numbers will help protect native species and increase forests’ health and resilience in dealing with climate change.

DOC Senior Community Ranger Jesse Burt says deer and pigs can pose a significant threat to New Zealand’s native forest ecosystems.

“They prevent the regeneration of plant species they eat, which can ultimately change the entire structure and composition of native ecosystems.”

"These reserves are popular and close to urban areas, meaning recreational hunting is not allowed for safety reasons. The planned operation will help to address an overabundance of pigs and deer in a safe manner,” says Jesse.

The reserves will be closed on a staggered schedule to minimise disruption. Kōhī Point Reserve will be closed on Monday 22 July, Mokorua Bush Scenic Reserve on Tuesday 23 July, and Ōhope Scenic Reserve will be closed from Wednesday 24 July to Thursday 25 July.

Warning signs will be placed at track entrances, and main entrance points will be staffed to ensure public safety and prevent unauthorised access during the operation.

The Whakatāne and Ōhope Sites Environmental Programme Working Group coordinating the operation would like to thank community and visitors for their understanding and cooperation during this essential work.

For further information please contact Bay of Plenty Regional Council on 0800 884 880 or


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