Effective pest control has been established and the trust is working to reintroduce native birds and other wildlife that have been lost from the forest.

Waihoanga kauri - Puketi Forest

Why Puketi Forest?

Puketi has several advantages as a location for a pest free sanctuary:

  • It is close to the main centres of population in Northland (Okaihau, Kaikohe, Kerikeri, Kaeo, Paihia) and is easily accessible.
  • It is visited by more than 100,000 visitors annually and the potential for conservation education is immense.
  • Subtropical kauri forest as a habitat type is nationally rare.
  • It is already a floristically diverse, mature forest, which has been identified as having excellent habitat values.
  • The forest is largely intact and includes a variety of habitat types including areas that have never been logged.
  • Puketi Forest is so far believed to be free of kauri dieback disease, and with good management we may keep it this way.
  • The forest is sufficiently large and diverse to maintain populations of charismatic megavertebrates in perpetuity.
  • North Island Brown Kiwi and Kukupa are present in reasonable numbers.
  • It is one of the three top priority areas for the Department of Conservation in Northland (along with Te Paki and Waipoua Forest).
Puketi Forest Trust location map
  • It is located centrally in the Far North Region and links easily with private conservation efforts, other Crown controlled land, and offshore islands, allowing movement of bird species along corridors from the coast to the heartland.
  • Puketi is high in the collective consciousness of the community and is valued highly by local people, both now and in the past.

Progress So Far

From commencement in 2003 to July 2019 the Trust has raised more than NZ$2.2 million, most of which has been spent in the forest on pest control.  An endowment fund has been launched to provide long term funding for the project (balance NZ$190,615 to July 2018).

Nearly 160 km of trap line tracks have been cut. Ten traplines have been established in the 5500 hectare management area within Puketi Forest and one trap line in the adjacent Puketi Scenic Reserve, with traps targeting mustelids, feral cats and possums. A 650 hectare core area within the management area has been established with an intensive layout of rat and possum traps and bait stations for supplementary toxins. More detail is provided on the Pest Control page.

Reliable contractors have been engaged to service the traps, and to July 2019 75,000 pests have been recorded from traps.

Wildlife monitoring is carried out regularly by Trust volunteers to confirm the effectiveness of pest control and the response of protected species. Monitoring has indicated increases in populations of kiwi and other birds. The  low rat population target has been achieved in the core area, so that vulnerable bird species can be re-introduced.

Re-introduction of locally extinct wildlife has begun with North Island robins (toutouwai) transferred in 2009 and 2010, and kokako in the period 2012 to 2014. Monitoring has confirmed local breeding of both species. More re-introductions are planned.