News Articles

Jan Hania moves onto Taranaki Mounga board

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2022

Since 2014 Taranaki Mounga Project Director Jan Hania (pictured) has been instrumental in developing and implementing our transformational 34,000-hectare landscape-scale project.  

This week Jan moves from his role as Project Director to an Independent Director on our Taranaki Mounga Board.  

Our team and board are delighted to continue to have his expertise and knowledge at this governance level.  

“Jan through his role as the NEXT Foundation Environmental Director was a key driver in bringing together successful partnerships and an innovative model which has seen the revitalisation of our tupuna mounga,” says Taranaki Mounga Chair Jamie Tuuta.  

“We are fortunate to have Jan join us on the Board as our project evolves and grows. He brings a wealth of skills, strong governance experience and provides continuity which is also vitally important.”  

Taranaki Mounga continues to strive and align with the Government’s vision for a predator free New Zealand by 2050. 

Our Co-Project Manager Sean Zieltjes will be Pouārahi Tupua / Acting Project Director and Sera Gibson will be in the sole acting role as Pou Whakahaere / Project Manager.  

The Taranaki Mounga Board will confirm its new structure over the coming months and will advertise accordingly.  


Underrated wonders of New Zealand

Thursday, June 30th, 2022
Our Co-Project Manager Sera Gibson made a cameo appearance on TVNZ’s Seven Sharp! This part of their Seven underrated wonders of New Zealand segment.
Comedian and staunch South Taranaki man Ben Hurley filmed on our tupuna maunga as part of our ongoing visitor attraction activity.
We were proud to feature alongside Te Poihi Campbell (Te Kotahitanga o Te Atiawa, Pouwhakakori / Project Manager), and Wayne Boness (Department of Conservation, Project Stream Lead Infrastructure).

New kiwi set to join successful Kaitake colony in Taranaki

Sunday, April 17th, 2022

Two kiwi named Awhina and Craig were released at Pukeiti in the Kaitake Range last week. Photo – Andy Jackson

Eight kiwi have been set free into bush in the Kaitake Range in Taranaki, joining 10 released for the first time last year and which are now thriving and breeding.

The new arrivals, released on Thursday, will provide more genetic diversity for a new colony that is developing, Kaitake Ranges Conservation Trust chair Peter Morgan said.

Two more kiwi will join them this season, an exciting development for an area where no evidence of wild kiwi living had been found “for a very long time”, he said.

Intensive predator control by the trust has made it possible for the birds to be reintroduced, and more kiwi will be progressively released over the next few years.

Read the full Taranaki Daily News article here.

Kiwi release ‘season’ begins in Taranaki

Tuesday, March 29th, 2022

Sam Hopkirk, from Taranaki Kiwi Trust, and students Stevie-Lee Pauga 10, Naveah Makatea Cooper 10, and Turi Broughton-Rewiti 9, meet one of the birds released on Tuesday. Phoo- Vanessa Laurie

Kiwi release ‘season’ got under way with the release of five birds on Taranaki Maunga on Tuesday.

They were the first of 34 that will be moved out of the region’s kiwi nursery during April.

This is the third year that birds bred in the Taranaki Kohanga Kiwi At Rotokare, a partnership between the Taranaki Kiwi Trust and the Rotokare Reserve Trust, near Eltham, have been released.

The translocations are made possible by hundreds of volunteers working alongside staff from the two trusts and the Taranaki Mounga Project, Department of Conservation and the Kaitake Ranges Conservation Trust.

Read the full Taranaki Daily News article here.

It’s goodbye to goats in Te Papakura o Taranaki after 100 years

Friday, March 25th, 2022

Taranaki Mounga board member Hemi Sundgren, NEXT Foundation chair and chief executive Bill Kermode, and DOC partnerships director Martin Rodd at the signing of the Tomorrow Accord on Friday.

After almost a century, goats are gone from Taranaki Maunga​ and the world’s longest-running goat eradication programme has come to an end.

Their absence is already being seen in an abundance of plants previously gobbled up by the goats.

This achievement was marked on Friday with a signing of the Tomorrow Accord milestone by representatives from the Taranaki Mounga​ Project (TMP) and Department of Conservation (DOC).

Established in 2014 between the Crown and Taranaki Mounga founding partner, the NEXT Foundation, the Tomorrow Accord ensures ecological transformations are protected for future generations.

Read the full Taranaki Daily News article here.

Kiwi now paired and prosper on Kaitake Range

Wednesday, February 9th, 2022

Rotokare Scenic Reserve Trust Conservation Manager Fiona Gordon. Photo – Jenny Feaver

In April last year 10 kiwi were translocated to the Kaitake Ranges. These kiwi were released with radio transmitters attached to their legs to allow Taranaki Kiwi Trust to monitor their survival and dispersal patterns.

The kiwi have not only all survived but they have thrived in their new home. All 10 kiwi paired up and attempted to nest this past breeding season. It is safe to say there will be a few new juvenile kiwi exploring the ranges this summer.
Thanks to the Kaitake Ranges Conservation Trust for keeping predator numbers low and also for helping to keep track of the kiwi.
Another 10 kiwi will be released into the Kaitake Ranges again this year from the Taranaki Kōhanga Kiwi at Rotokare our partnership with Rotokare Scenic Reserve Trust to help build a healthy genetically diverse kiwi population.

Options considered for rebuilding Taranaki’s Lake Dive Hut

Friday, January 21st, 2022

The 16-bunk Lake Dive Hut, burnt down in 2020 in a suspicious fire.

The Department of Conservation, local iwi, Federated Mountain Clubs and Back Country Trust are in discussions to explore opportunities for a potential rebuild of the popular Lake Dive Hut in Egmont National Park.

The 16-bunk Lake Dive Hut, on the slopes of Taranaki Maunga, burnt down in 2020 in a suspicious fire. A man alleged to have started the fire is now before the courts.

The local Department of Conservation (DoC) team is keen to see the hut replaced and staff are looking at possible options to achieve this, senior ranger Dave Rogers says.

“We recognise it leaves a fairly big gap in the backcountry hut network on that side of the mountain. Due to its stunning location and views of Taranaki Maunga, Lake Dive hut was a popular overnight destination. But like any organisation, DoC has a limited amount of funding, so we’re exploring rebuild options with potential partners.”

Read Stratford Press article here.

Fishing for goats around Te Papakura o Taranaki

Thursday, January 20th, 2022

Taranaki Mounga is on the way to fully eradicating goats, a harmful threat to our native plants, making Te Papakura o Taranaki New Zealand’s first ungulate (hooved animals) free national park. This effort is working towards larger predator management goals including Predator-Free Taranaki and the Regional Council’s development of a biodiversity ‘halo’ surrounding the Mounga to minimise the reinvasion of pests.

Using eDNA to fish for pests

A big area of interest in the eDNA sphere is to explore the potential applications of eDNA metabarcoding as a reliable, cost-effective tool for pest mammal detection. The Taranaki Mounga Project is a key partner on an extensive pest mammal detection project led by Professor Neil Gemmell from the University of Otago and recently funded by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE). This broader pest project is currently in its first of three years running and is investigating the use of eDNA as a tool for rapidly characterising the distributions, densities and movements of pest mammal populations at both local and landscape scales. It also looks to show how samples collected for pest surveys could be used for other purposes such as biodiversity assessments and conservation management. By sampling rivers and streams, pest management groups could increase the scale of their ecological surveys, provide more information about the species present and how their abundance and distributions change with pest management efforts.

Read the full article by Amy Gault from Wilderlab

Smoke-looking clouds on Taranaki maunga are ‘just dust’

Tuesday, January 18th, 2022

Clouds of smoke rising from Te Papakura o Taranaki. Photo – Simon O’Connor/Stuff

Onlookers watched “plumes of smoke” rise from Taranaki Maunga this week, with dozens posting to social media, some calling the Department of Conservation, and one phoning the fire service.

But there was no fire.

The smoke-looking clouds were simply dust caused by “wind and very dry conditions”, Department of Conservation (DOC) senior ranger Dave Rogers said.

The plumes were coming from the Pyramid Stream near the sea-side of the mountain, which in the summer months has no water running through. The same happens with the Oaonui Stream.

Read full Taranaki Daily News article here.

First kiwi chick born on Kaitake Ranges

Wednesday, November 10th, 2021

Photo: Taranaki Kiwi Trust

Just months after kiwi were reintroduced into Taranaki’s Kaitake Ranges, a pair of the birds have successfully hatched a chick, stunning conservationists.

“It’s hard to wrap in a few words just how significant this is,” Taranaki Mounga Project manager Sean Zieltjes said.

“We didn’t expect to be able to achieve this fast. It’s testament to the commitment of the community getting stuck in out there.”

The chick’s arrival was discovered by Taranaki Kiwi Trust staff while monitoring the signal from its father’s transmitter last week.

Ten kiwi, including the chick’s parents Spencer and Pourewa, were released into the area in April, the first to be reintroduced after years of extensive predator trapping by Taranaki Mounga Project and Kaitake Ranges Conservation Trust volunteers to make the area safe for them.

“This one being born at Kaitake would be the first one in a very long time,” Zieltjes said.

Four other males are also incubating eggs, so more chicks are likely in the coming weeks.

Read the full Taranaki Daily News article here.

Students crack code revealing kiwi chick will soon hatch

Wednesday, November 10th, 2021

Students from Oakura School. Photo – RNZ/Robin Martin

A group of Taranaki school children enjoying a crash course in kiwi tracking in Te Papakura o Taranaki (Egmont National Park) have been let in on a secret…

Five pairs of the national bird released onto Kaitake maunga in April are in the midst of a baby – or should that be – chick boom.

A transmitter carried by Haimona – one of 10 western brown kiwi transferred to the Kaitake ranges from the Rotokare Scenic Reserve earlier this year – is beeping in patterns indecipherable to all but those in the know.

Taranaki Kiwi Trust operations leader Sian Portier​ is translating the code with the help of children from Oakura School.

“So there’s nine and four there … so minus two from nine is seven [and two from four is two] … so 72 days he’s been sitting. So, like I said 75 is about hatch time so any day now he should hatch out.”

Kiwi had been absent from the range for decades. But Haimona is incubating an egg, about to become a dad, and he’s not alone.

Portier said the kiwi were wearing a transmitter with a mercury switch which recorded their activity every 10 minutes.

The telemetry codes or beeps provide a wealth of information.

“So those codes will tell us everything from how long a bird has been incubating or if it is incubating what state it’s in, down to what time it came out to feed last night and how many hours it was actually out for last night, the night before and an average over the last four nights as well.”

Read the full Radio NZ article here.


Apprentices relish chance to protect birds on Taranaki Maunga

Friday, October 15th, 2021

Apprentices Mereana Hanrahan, Mawene Bidois, Jarvis Edwards and Tipunakore Rangiwai. Photo – Vanessa Laurie

Seeing flocks of kereru whirring past as he works is a highlight of Mawena Bidois’​ new job as a pest controller​ on Taranaki Maunga.

He’s one of four apprentices who started work with the Taranaki Mounga Project three weeks ago, and is full of enthusiasm for his new career.

“This job gives me the opportunity to work alongside my maunga, my mountain, my biggest aspiration,” he said.

“We are eradicating a lot of predators, so we can release kiwi and whio back into the maunga, so they can thrive in here. Every day is different, that’s what I like about it.”

The apprenticeship scheme is funded through Predator Free New Zealand as part of a nationwide programme to train more animal pest control specialists to support the predator-free vision.

Read the full Taranaki Daily News article here.