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         To rehabilitate the native flora and fauna of Kawau Island

                           To promote the conservation of indigenous species in New Zealand

                       To achieve sustainable land use on Kawau Island


Pohutukawa Trust New Zealand is a charitable trust incorporated under the Charitable Trusts Act 1957. The Trust was established by a group of Kawau Island's private landowners in March 1992. Events leading to the Trust's beginnings go back to 1955 when New Zealand's looming possum problem was first positively identified on Kawau.

Thirty years later the New Zealand Forest Service said it was hopeless to consider doing anything about the destruction of the Island's flora caused by introduced animals. Kawau Island was "written off". "Kawau Island has no particular significance for its botany nor for its native wildlife values" and "Kawau Island is of historical rather than botanical interest" were some of the assessments.

The landowners did not agree with this and stepped in with an initiative to save the native flora and fauna. By 1990 pohutukawa trees had been saved by the landowners and were blooming again, some for the first time in 20 years. Encouraged by this success, the landowners established the Trust to provide long term organisation and governance with the objectives: "To rehabilitate the native flora and fauna of Kawau Island, and "To promote the conservation of indigenous species in New Zealand".

Landowners also wished to provide for sustainable lands uses on the Island for the long term future of the community. In this context rehabilitate means "to restore to former condition" - to restore the severely degraded Kawau Island ecosystems.

Pohutukawa Trust New Zealand was launched by the first Mayor of Rodney Sir Gordon Mason in March 1992. As membership and resources grew work began on planning for removal of wallabies and some other introduced pest animals as awareness of the problem was developed through regular communications. By then bird life was responding positively to the reduction in possum numbers (10,000 removed) and brown teal were seen again in Hokimai Bay (1992), as well as increasing numbers of kereru, tui, and occasionally bellbirds and kaka.  Efforts were made to get a clear position concerning wallabies on the public Historic Reserve land, which was the main impediment to achieving the Trust's objectives. Landowners increased their planting of native trees, mostly inside protective fences and animal pest control was stepped up. Work with the Auckland Regional Council, lead firstly to declaring wallabies an animal pest in the region and then, due to support for the private landowner initiative, upgrading the status in 2002 to eradication.

By 2000 much progress had been made, particularly north of Bon Accord Harbour with many native plants surviving and more native birds seen, including reports of more kiwi calls. 

Following a presentation to a group at the ARC in 1999 a Scoping Plan and Budget was prepared with an option of coordinating animal pest eradication with plans being developed by the ARC for nearby Tawharanui at the time.  A target date of 2005 for eradication was established and a leaflet drop was made to every dwelling on the Island. An inventory of indigenous plants was begun using a paper presented in 1876 by John Buchanan F.L.S entitled ON THE BOTANY OF KAWAU ISLAND as a starting point. The plant inventory has become quite extensive with significant contributions by the Auckland Botanical Society and landowners. The purpose of this inventory is to enable propagation of eco-sourced plants for distribution to members once the animal pest problem is under control, although the main route to recovery will be natural regeneration from the seed rain still being provided by remnant mature trees.

The Trust was awarded a National Green Ribbon Award during 2003 for outstanding leadership and commitment to environmental protection, and was a runner-up in the ARC E-Awards that year. The landowners played an important part in assisting Waterfall Springs Conservation Association (Australia) to return the endangered Brushtail rock wallaby to Australia. There were only small numbers on Kawau and all animals that could be economically caught were returned and are now in a successful captive breeding program.

Finally, the department of conservation gave conditional support to the project subject to the Trust suspending operations for a time. Members have seen much regression during the suspension with loss of regenerating trees 5 years old and animals attacking plants that have been flourishing unprotected for years. The opportunity to coordinate with Tawharanui was lost. However, the Trust has now declared that the suspension is over.

Pohutukawa Trust New Zealand is responsible to landowner members and the Auckland Regional Council and intends to complete the animal pest eradication phase of the project as quickly as possible.

The Board

Pohutukawa Trust New Zealand is governed by a Board of five Trustees,

Ray Weaver, Ken McCormack, Lesley Stephenson, Helen Smith.

The Board met in April 2005 for a business meeting.

Members had indicated in a survey that they wanted to resume operations now and move to complete eradication as soon as possible.

The Board decided that operations will now resume. Concurrently, all options are being explored to enable effective progress as rapidly as possible. Some members have offered assistance to work in operational teams.

The Auckland Regional Pest Management Strategy states "The level of ARC support will reflect the level of landowner/occupier support for the eradication and demonstrable community efforts." The support of owners and occupiers of land on Kawau Island is therefore very important.

The Trust also welcomes supporters with an interest in New Zealand's biodiversity who are not Kawau landowners.


Pohutukawa Trust New Zealand

Registered Office

24 Umere Crescent




Copyright 1951-2005 E.R. Weaver Pohutukawa Trust New Zealand

                                                        Home    Pohutukawa Trust History  

                                                            Kawau Island Settlement    Kawau Island History  

                                                   The Big Picture    Ecological Values    Ecological Problems