There has been decades of stakeholder, iwi-hapū and community concern, engagement and action to restore the mauri of the Kaimai Mamaku.
We acknowledge that history as providing the symbolic mauri stone from which we launch our mission.
1940 - 1987 | Wildlife Service and Forest Service
Ongoing surveys in the Kaimai Mamaku forests meant NZ’s Wildlife Service and Forest Service knew of the exceptional ecological and biodiversity values of our pae maunga (ranges). The unique diversity of ecosystem types supported a great diversity of plants, with 500-600 indigenous species thought to be present. The fauna is also very significant and included Kōkako, Kiwi, Kākā, falcon, short-tailed bats, Hochstetters frog, striped skink, indigenous fish, and Te Aroha stag beetle.
However, pests were also present. The threat to forest health posed by goats in the Kaimai Mamaku Forest Park was well documented. Observations of bare and depleted understory in areas with high goat populations were a common theme in reports over a 60 year period. Government goat control started in the late 1940s and by the mid 1970s there was an ongoing goat control programme underway. The programme employed up to 11 people and around 8,000 goats were shot. This continued into the 1980s and 1990s with the effort reducing to 2-3 staff as goat populations reduced. Critical funding for goat control was reduced throughout the late 1990's which unfortunately led to an increase in numbers.
1987-1990 | Te Papa Atawhai (DOC)
In 1987, Department of Conservation/Te Papa Atawhai was formed under the Conservation Act.
Te Papa Atawhai took over the management of the Kaimai Mamaku Forest Park and consolidated the government functions of conservation management, pest control and monitoring. Even though the Kaimai Mamaku forests had been identified by its predecessor, NZ Forest Service, as having high ecological values, Te Papa Atawhai had insufficient resourcing for biodiversity management of all the land it administered.
For example, by the mid 1990s there were large areas of the Kaimai Mamaku Forests where goats were considered almost eradicated. But when goat numbers began increasing again, the resourcing for hunting effort did not increase and forest health began to be impacted once again. Along with other animal pests, the ongoing impact resulted degraded forest health in some parts of the pae maunga (ranges).
The impact of pests resulted in the local extinction of species such whio (blue duck) and kakariki, and the steep decline of many other birds. Te Papa Atawhai established predator control operations (possum, rat, stoat) at Opuiaki, Mokaihaha, Ōtānewainuku and Ōtawa which comprise some of the best remaining forest habitat.
2009 - 2019 | Kaimai Mamaku Catchment Forum (KMCF)
The inaugural Forum meeting was held in July 2009 to discuss technical reports commissioned by Te Papa Atawhai on the state of the Kaimai Mamaku ecosystems. The reports indicated that forest health in some areas is declining, exacerbated by pressure from pest animals, but large areas of forest are in reasonable or good health. The reports also noted that indigenous animals, especially birds, have experienced major declines and local extinctions as a result of predation.
The Forum’s stakeholder members met regularly to discuss how to resolve these issues. In later years, working groups (biodiversity, water, people) and the Māori caucus (Ngā Iwi Tōpū) were formed to develop pathways for collaboration, decision-making and action, based on a cohesive strategy and operational plan.
2018 | Pest Management Discussion Document "Towards Thriving Kaimai Mamaku Forests"
On the basis of the Forum’s work, a Pest Management discussion document was commissioned to agree a path forward in the context of a very diverse forest environment with variable pest pressures. A later document formalised this pest control approach into a management plan based on centres of action (hubs) around which forward work programmes could be developed.
The management plan identified the pest species of most concern for each of six key parts of the Kaimai Mamaku, with a focus on rats, stoats, possums, wallabies and goats. Workshops on this approach were completed with Forum members.
2019 | Manaaki Kaimai Mamaku Trust
The Forum agreed that a formal organisational structure was needed to hold and communicate the kaupapa, receive and administer funding, and coordinate the proposed mahi. The Manaaki Kaimai Mamaku Trust was formed in 2009 with five elected Trustees representing iwi-hapū, community conservation, and the Bay of Plenty and Waikato communities.
Trust establishment overcame a key obstacle identified by the Forum of having an organisational structure into which restoration funding could be placed. The Trust Deed set out seven objects defining the Trust's purpose including enabling restoration of the Kaimai Mamaku and managing funds for that purpose.
2019 - Today | Joint Agency Committee formed - 'Towards Thriving Kaimai Mamaku' Environmental Programme
The Forum’s engagement mahi continued and a Joint Agency Committee (JAC) of Te Papa Atawhai, Bay of Plenty Regional Council, Waikato Regional Council and MKMT Trustees was established. The JAC prepared “Towards Thriving Kaimai Mamaku Forests: A proposal to increase animal pest control 2020-2025”, essentially seeking to double the funding for pest control in the Kaimai Mamaku ngahere.
The parties signed up to an environmental programme of operational activities and BOPRC committed $1.5m over 5 years as catalyst funding to progress the mahi, matching contributions from DOC and Waikato Regional Councils. This collaboration has enabled increased integration between agencies to ensure that prioritisation of pest control and monitoring efforts are coordinated and aligned.
2020 | Jobs For Nature Kaimai Mamaku Restoration Project – $19.4m over 4 years
On the basis of the Forum’s early work, an agreed pest control approach, and the collaboration of the Māori caucus (Ngā Iwi Tōpu) and Te Papa Atawhai, a funding proposal was developed to resource the work. The proposal focused on ngahere restoration through significantly increased pest control and kauri protection. The proposal was based on iwi-hapū and the community carrying out the mahi, supported by Te Papa Atawhai, with funding managed by Manaaki Kaimai Mamaku Trust.
The Jobs for Nature (Budget 2020 COVID recovery package) funding was announced at Waitaia Lodge at Opuiakai. Because the Kaimai Mamaku Restoration Project detail was well advanced supported by the Joint Agency Committee's increased funding, the resulting funding was among the largest projects announced and formed a key part of the North Island Forests restoration projects package along with the Raukumara restoration project.
2020 - 2021 | Manaaki Kaimai Mamaku Trust Restructure
In 2020, the Manaaki Kaimai Mamaku Trust was re-structured into a co-governance entity with six Māori and five community trustees, with Māori and community trustees as co-chairs. Collectively the Trustees represent numerous iwi-hapū, Bay of Plenty and Waikato communities, and have interests across a wide range of stakeholder groups.
The Trust registered as a charity and charitable trust, and began meeting monthly to develop governance policy and initial strategy as the basis on which to take over management of the Jobs For Nature Kaimai Mamaku Restoration Project. The Trust received initial funding to commence operations and fund governance support for its early work.
2021 | Kaimai Mamaku Restoration Project operations commence
Working towards the Manaaki Kaimai Mamaku Trust taking over management of the Jobs For Nature Kaimai Mamaku Restoration Project, a Transitional Governance Group of Trustees and Te Papa Atawhai staff began meeting. The project's Indicative Business Case was approved in June 2021 and shortly afterwards Te Papa Atawhai's transitional project team was appointed.
Strategic and operational plans and funding criteria were agreed, and projects began to be presented for approval. The project team established contracts with specialist advisors (Health & Safety, GIS database, pest control operations) to provide comprehensive support for projects. Te Papa Atawhai operations and technical staff provided project support with pest control methods, training, monitoring, and upskilling the new project teams.
2021 | MKMT CEO Starts
Manaaki Kaimai Mamaku Trust’s CEO was welcomed into the kaupapa and the mahi with a powhiri at Hangarau marae. The appointment of the Trust's first employee marked an important milestone in delivering the vision and mission originally developed by the Kaimai Mamaku Catchments Stakeholder Forum.
Since then, the Trust has employed more staff to take over the roles of Te Papa Atawhai's transitional project team, established communications channels for better engagement with communities and stakeholders, and re-launched the Kaimai Mamaku Stakeholder Forum.
2022 | Managing the Kaimai Mamaku Restoration Project
On 1 April 2022, the Trust officially took over management of the Jobs For Nature Kaimai Mamaku Restoration Project, as a platform on which to launch a long term campaign of pest control and forest restoration.