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  • Writer's pictureTim Higham

Te Papa Atawhai and Tū Mai Taonga sign agreements

Updated: May 16, 2023

Tū Mai Taonga Project Steering Committee Chair Opo Ngawaka and DOC Aotea Operations Manager Kirsty Prior signing community agreements on November 7.

The Tū Mai Taonga project and Te Papa Atawhai/Department of Conservation have signed community agreements to enable predator control work in the Aotea Conservation Park.

The agreements allow the project to create lightly marked trails to support a predator trapping and monitoring network, develop and maintain light utility vehicle access on the Tataweka/Burrill Route, utilise existing facilities in the Te Paparahi area, and add additional temporary accommodation and equipment to support teams of field workers.

An agreement between the Department of Conservation and the Ngāti Rehua Ngātiwai ki Aotea Trust also enables the project to utilise the DOC Akapoua Office building on Kaiaraara Bay Road as its base.

Opo Ngawaka, chair of the Tū Mai Taonga Project Steering Committee, said the agreements were another important milestone for the project.

“Te Paparahi is a culturally significant place for Ngāti Rehua Ngātiwai ki Aotea, yet its forests are quiet because of the high numbers of feral cats and rats in the area. These agreements enable our field workers to start the mahi of bringing back the birds, plants, reptiles, and insects that should be here, living among us.”

Kirsty Prior, DOC’s Aotea Operations Manager, said Tū Mai Taonga had the potential to change the outlook for Aotea’s native wildlife.

“The Department has committed $2.1 million over 3 years through the Jobs for Nature programme. Aotea is a stronghold for some of New Zealand’s most endangered species, and this project will further support the island’s unique wildlife.”

“We’re committed to the successful running of this essential hapū-led, community-backed project. Developing these agreements is critical in ensuring the safety of workers in this rugged terrain, and it has been an important opportunity for creating a robust, supportive partnership,” she adds.

Tū Mai Taonga is funded by the Jobs for Nature - Mahi mō te Taiao programme, through the Department of Conservation and Predator Free 2050 Limited, and by Auckland Council.

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