We are delighted to announce that Te Manahuna Aoraki Project board has given the go-ahead for the project to continue.
Since 2018, the project has been developing a plan for revitalising the unique eco-systems across the whole 310,000 hectare project area so native species and people can thrive together in a protected mainland island.
The board has now approved the next five years of the project, subject to securing the appropriate funding. Te Manahuna Aoraki Project chair Dr Jan Wright says she is delighted to see the project moving from the feasibility stage to the long term restoration stage.
“New Zealand has managed to make islands pest free so the next challenge is to do that in large mainland islands. Working in the dryland, eastern part of the country has different challenges compared to forested areas but we have learnt a lot and worked with our partners to come up with a long term plan for success. This is the first restoration initiative of a dryland landscape at such a large scale in the country and key funders are showing a commitment to the project,” she says.
Project Manager Simone Smits says this is an exciting time for the project team, partners and the community. “Our team is passionate about the environment they live and work in and super keen to move into the next stage,” she says.
A strong focus over the last four years has been undertaking conservation work to protect braided river and alpine species, understanding the critical challenges ahead, and forging relationships. Building on this, the next five years will see the project demonstrate pest elimination across different environments, before scaling operations across larger expanses of the project area. Te Manahuna Aoraki Project will work with our colleagues at Zero Invasive Predators (ZIP) to achieve this.
At the same time, we will continue working with partners to extend weed and Canada geese control, and develop initiatives to enhance sites of cultural and ecological importance.