Our History


The Trust is a finalist for the 2014 New Zealander of the Year Community awards.


Pistachio, our first kiwi chick bred at Otanewainuku in decades, hatches at Kiwi Encounter. Kokako survey confirms 16 kokako including several juveniles. Large gathering of Volunteers at Oropi Hall. Warrenheip Crèche is being used by the Trust to raise juvenile kiwi to the safer release age of around 2 years old. 


Governor General Sir Jerry Mateparae releases two kiwi at Otanewainuku. Our own endowment fund is launched with The Acorn Trust, enabling donors to gift money which will be held for the Trust in perpetuity and the interest used indefinitely. Phill Wells takes over as Chair from Peter Crane.


Our first fledgling kokako chick bred at Otanewainuku has been positively identified. Peter Crane takes over as Chair from Dave Edwards.


Our first kiwi chick gifted by Ngati Whare is released in May. His name is Taketake. Kokako release is planned for later this year 25 years after being moved to the safety of Little Barrier Island. Goat cullers removed seven goats from Otanewainuku.


Maui and Whetu, two of our kiwi released in 2007 have nested and produced many eggs which have been lifted using Project ONE. None yet have been fertile. Our kiwi crèche project is put on hold. Kiwi translocation is our focus to build kiwi numbers to form a self-sustaining population.


Carpark opposite the shelter extended. Tutaki, our four year old female kiwi, is tragically killed by a car. Stoat trapping lines extended to cover all of Otanewainuku Mountain. Dave Edwards takes over as Chair from founding Chair Mark Dean .


Four adult kiwi are released into the bush: Maui, Tutaki and Matariki (female), Whetu (male). A network of 965 bait stations is established on a 75m x 150m grid, which is about one bait station per hectare.


The Trust develops an integrated pest control programme so that all flora and fauna are protected. First bait station operation is carried out, targeting possums and rats using a 150m x 150m bait station grid.


DOC goat cullers remove 23 feral goats from Otanewainuku. A series of predator control workshops is held by DOC and NZ Landcare.


January 04 to March 05 The Trust initiated a trial to compare the use of salted rabbit with the standard hen egg when baiting traps for catching stoats. Salted rabbit caught over twice as many mustelids as eggs.


Gradual increase of trapping area to a total of 925 hectares covered including Otanewainuku Mountain. We monitor 220 sets of stoat traps.


Our first public meeting was held on the 8th of August at Oropi School. The Trust was modeled on the nearby Kaharoa Kokako Trust. Local resident Jim Pendergrast, had fought to preserve our forest from logging and became our founder.

Workdays held to construct tunnels for Conibear 110 traps at Neal Blaymire's workshop and to recut and mark old DOC possum lines.

180 double-set stoat traps were set on every second line at 150m intervals. We baited these traps with DOC standard hen eggs. Traps are checked every two weeks in the summer (December - March) when mustelids are active and every 4 weeks the rest of the year.

A professional contractor set and monitored the initial trap lines over 600 hectares. Trap locations were recorded for each individual trap set. In December, monitoring of trap lines and collection of catch data shifted from the contractor to volunteers due to strong volunteer support.

1999 - 2001

Kiwi listening surveys were performed in Otanewainuku forest. This indicated that kiwi numbers had dropped from around 50 birds in 1984 to five in 2001. Te Puke Forest and Bird initiated a project (the formation of this Trust) to protect kiwi in Otanewainuku forest.


Possum trapping lines cut by DOC. These were 150m apart and covered around 700 hectares of our 1200 hectares of forest.


Eight kokako are removed from Otanewainuku by the Forest Service (now DOC) to the safety of Little Barrier Island. Two pairs of kokako are seen in later years.


The Forest Service allotted all the native forest on the south side of Mangatoi Rd as millable. Local settlers and Forest and Bird sent in a further request to government and saved this unique and pristine forest from milling.


Conservator of Forests, CL Hamilton, advised that SF6 was deemed a permanent forest, reserved for water conservation for Te Puke and Tauranga townships.


Over 1800 large rimu and other native trees were numbered on the on the east side of No 2 Rd by hopeful sawmillers. Some numbers are still visible carved into the trunks, near ground level.


Petition sent to the Minister of Lands by 23 local settlers, including our founder Jim Pendergrast that no milling take place at Otanewainuku on the grounds that:

  • noxious weeds would take over when the timber was removed
  • the area is a protected water reserve
  • roads to Te Puke were not fit for timber cartage



Telegram sent from the local Settlers Committee to the Director of Forestry requesting that no tenders for milling Otanewainuku forest be accepted. Applications for milling continued to be made throughout the 1930s.


Otanewainuku State Forest 6 (SF6) was gazetted on 6 January. 1250 hectares in Blocks XII and XVI Otanewainuku Survey Tauranga County District. Reference page 839


Otanewainuku was a significant landmark for Maori. Read more about our legend and iwi.


Kokako Release

Kokako - returning to us



Work day volunteers

Work day volunteers

Founding trustees 2003

Howick kindy kids helping out

Line cutting 2002

Carole Long Oropi School 2002