New Zealand’s Great Walks – New Zealand Department of Conservation and Air New Zealand (New Zealand)

The Department of Conservation is working in partnership with New Zealand’s national carrier Air New Zealand, to restore biodiversity and birdlife, and enhance the visitor experiences on New Zealand’s Great Walks.

The long-term partnership has so far enabled more than 23,000 hectares of native bush nationwide to be laid with predator traps.



The Goal  

To restore the dawn chorus in northern Abel Tasman National Park, enhancing the nature experience for more than 200,000 visitors every year.



The Solution

The natural environment is fundamental to New Zealand’s identity and at the heart of our nation’s tourism proposition. While New Zealand is one of the richest areas of biodiversity on Earth, we also have one of the highest rates of threatened species.

New Zealand has many unique native birds, fish, insects, lizards and frogs, however all of them are at risk from introduced pests and predators, weeds and other threats. Controlling these pests is essential for the survival of our special native plants and animals.

Since 2012 Air New Zealand has partnered with the Department of Conservation (DOC), working to protect and enhance New Zealand’s natural environment through supporting conservation efforts on New Zealand’s Great Walks, marine science and threatened species.

After the success of the partnership’s first three biodiversity projects, in 2016 the airline extended its conservation work alongside DOC and local iwi group Manawhenua ki Mohua to launch a network for pest control across the Totaranui headland of the Abel Tasman National Park, focused on reducing numbers of stoats, rats, possums and wasps..

The project supports the restoration of native bird populations to the headland, with the aim to bring back the birdsong for thousands who stay at Totaranui campsite each year. An intensive trapping network will provide maximum opportunity for forest birds to breed successfully, and thriving habitat for wildlife to live.

This aim is for visitors to the northern end of the Abel Tasman Coast Track to enjoy a vibrant dawn chorus – at levels that can currently only be experienced on New Zealand’s pest-free offshore islands.



The Results

The partnership has enabled DOC to purchase and install an additional 458 double-set stoat traps and 126 self-setting Goodnature rat traps in the northern Abel Tasman National Park. Together with Air New Zealand, and other major partners Project Janszoon, the Abel Tasman Birdsong Trust and local iwi, more than 80 per cent of the 22,530-hectare national park is now covered by trapping efforts.

By returning the dawn chorus to the Totaranui Campground, thousands of campers will be able to experience the early wake-up birdsong and see conservation in action during their stay.

Over time, other species may be introduced to the area to ultimately encourage forest and wetland bird numbers to increase.



Insider Tips

  • Working collaboratively with multiple partners including local iwi, community groups, philanthropic investors and commercial partners brings a diverse range of skills and knowledge to the project design and implementation
  • Thorough planning of the project enabled us to act quickly to implement once funding was confirmed.




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