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History of Aongatete Forest Project
The concept for this project began in 2001 with a search to locate the last surviving kokako in the Kaimai range. The search revealed the heavily browsed and degraded state of the Kaimai-Mamaku Forest Park and the paucity of bird life.
The Tauranga branch of Forest & Bird approached Katikati Rotary and Ngai Tamawhariua for help to set up a pest control and advocacy project at Aongatete. These groups formed the Aongatete Forest Restoration Trust.
In 2006 the project started with pest (rats, possums and stoats) control over an area of 140 hectares and this was subsequently extended to cover 245 hectares. In 2013 the National office of the Royal Forest & Bird Society of NZ (Forest & Bird) funded the expansion of the project area to some 500 hectares. In 2016 the Trust decided to operate under the name Aongatete Forest Project to reflect the close partnership with Forest & Bird.