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History of Kaharoa Kokako Trust

From 1988 to 1997, Kaharoa Forest was part of an important national study by Landcare Research and the Department of Conservation. The purpose of this research experiment was to determine the cause of kokako decline. Results showed that predation by possums and ship rats were the main cause for the widespread decline of kokako in New Zealand forests (Innes, J. et al 1999).

Following completion of this experiment, the Department of Conservation had no immediate funding available for continued pest control. Kaharoa residents Peter Davey and Rachael Vellinga began discussion with DOC about alternative pest control arrangements.

In 1997 volunteers established 160 bait stations throughout 300 ha Kaharoa Forest. After a strong start, the Trust was formally incorporated Jan 1998 based on a Memorandum of Understanding with the Department of Conservation.

In 2000, pest control was extended to the Onaia Ecological Area, increasing total bait stations to over 550 covering 700 ha.

As a result of ongoing pest control done by volunteers, kokako number have increased from only 12 known breeding pairs to over 60, with many more juveniles.

The expanding population has enabled Kaharoa to supply kokako for translocation to other protected areas.