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Pānui Ngahuru | Autumn 2024

March - June

Whāia te iti kahurangi, ki te tuohu koe, me he maunga teitei

Seek the treasure that you value most dearly, if you bow your head,

let it be to a lofty mountain. 

Tēnā koe!

Autumn has been a very busy time for our kaimahi! With boots on the ground we deployed 13 team members into Te Raukūmara ngahere to install 4 wharepāku along the Te Ara Tipuna trail.

During this season we have successfully applied aerial 1080 to Block 2C and Block 3 of Te Raukūmara ngahere, which brings our total treatment area to 115,825 hectares. This milestone on its own is a testament to the shared commitment and aroha of our kaimahi and our people.

Our Communications and Engagement teams hosted a number of community based events across Te Whānau-ā-Apanui right through to Ngāti Porou. And amongst all of this we were privileged to meet with Predator control specialist John Bissel and gain not only some top pest control tips but also a new kiwaha, "sweet as a kūmara" as John would say!

Heio ano, things haven't stopped yet!

Our kaimahi have started to visualise the fruits of their labour and we have exciting news to share, members of our Operations and Monitoring team have been working hard on becoming certified Kiwi Handlers.

Its all happening e te iwi, find out more below!


Te Ara Tipuna REECE

Pictured from left: Wiremu Wharepapa, Ripia Teddy, Caleb Wharepapa, Peter Waitoa, Heath Hovell.

A team of 13 kaimahi represented across all work streams from Operations, Communication and Engagement and Deer and Goat, headed into the Ngahere during March on a mission to install 4 wharepaku on the Te Ara Tipuna trail at the following campsites:


  • Wai o Tapu Toa

  • Tangiterau

  • Okapua Raukokore

  • Te Ranga Nui a Toi


This task didn't come lightly, each site required tools such as chainsaws, scrub cutters and spades. All equipment was carefully packed into each wharepaku and flown into the ngahere by Steven Woods at Motu Helicopters Ltd - Operated by Heli-Hire to each site.


A big mihi to our kaimahi for all the hard work that went into delivering on this kaupapa.

Picture 1: Peter Waitoa, Heath Hovell | Picture 2: Peter Waitoa | Picture 3: Heath Hovell, Sharon Wharepapa, Peter Waitoa.

Kanohi Kitea

Pictured from left: Tracy Brown, Toihau O'brien, Moana Mato, Ivan Henry, Jamie Allan, TKOTWA Students, Ike Matchitt.

During April, we held our ‘Kanohi Kitea’ Community Engagement day at Te Kaha Marae.  This is a pivotal part of our Raukūmara Pae Maunga Communications and Engagement strategy that provides an opportunity for our local Kaumātua, Whānau and Rangatahi to come along and meet some of our kaimahi. 

We were fortunate to have representation from the Operations team as well as the Deer and Goat aerial and ground culler teams. Each stream presented remarkably, and this can only be credited to how far they have come, a year later, with what they have had to do to get them to where they are today.

E mihi ana ki te paetapu, Uncle Pona Adams, Uncle Wi Paora me ngā manu tīoriori Sheryl Ferguson, Nanny Ruhi, Aunty Yvonne Headland me taku māmā, Makuini Webb. Erueti Korewha, we are extremely appreciative of your time, expertise, mātauranga and continuous support. 


We will also treasure all the GOLD pieces of knowledge you shared with us to place in our kete. He mihi nui anō hoki ki ngā “cooks” mo ngā kai tino reka. Lastly to Te Kura o Te Whānau-a-Apanui, heed the words of Tā Apirana Ngata

E tipu e rea mō ngā rā o tōu ao – Grow tender shoot for the days destined for you.

Pictured: TKOTWA Students, Mikaere Albert, Brooklyn Grace, Benny Haerewa.

School Holiday Programme

Pictured: Tony Holden, Heath Hovell, Raiha Blaine, Ario Rewi, Peter Waitoa.

Our team hosted a two-day taiao wananga which our rangatahi were privileged to a range of skills. However, what we enjoyed mostly about this wananga was the Whakawhanaungatanga that was shared.

Genuine time with our people, that’s what this kaupapa is all about. Through this school holiday programme our rangatahi were engaged in:

  • Basic trapping knowledge and experience

  • Ngahere and taiao connection

  • Artistic expression

  • Food processing and cooking

  • Whakawhanaungatanga

Planting Project Wananga

During April we hosted a Planting Project Wananga at Wairuru Marae. This time enabled us to engage in deep learning and sharing of mātauranga, whakapapa and an opportunity to lean into whakawhanaungatanga.

A mihi to Trees That Count for coming and spending this time with us, teaching us the do’s and don’ts of planting but also allowing our people the space to share what has worked well and not so well for them.

We hope this wananga has prepared our people well for the thousands of tipu we are set to put into the soil in the approaching months.

Watch some of the highlight reels by following the links below:

Predator Hunters

Guided by the best in the business our team spent quality time with predator control specialist, John Bissell. John was taken into two of our intensively managed sites to check out some of the trapping networks that our Operations and Monitoring teams have installed.

Since the start of 2024 the monitoring team have been working hard through rain, hail and shine to set up and get all of our monitoring sites off of the ground. The work has been complex and challenging, all sites offering unique obstacles that the team has had to work through to create an effective trapping network that meets standards and does the job of trapping pests.

Motu Tohorā Trip

”Anō te pai, te āhuareka o te nohotahi o ngā Teina me ngā Tuakana”

We were privileged to take Te Kura O Potaka on a haerenga to Motu Tohorā. He mihi tenei ki Department of Conservation - Eastern Bay of Plenty and our guides for making this possible. Through our education and training streams it is imperative we provide opportunities for our rangatahi to engage with various types of taiao learning. Motu Tohorā provides opportunity for rangatahi to view first-hand what high level kaitiakitanga can achieve.

  • Thriving rakau

  • Abundance of bird song

  • Safe habitat for our taonga species

  • Endless learning opportunities

As well as being steeped in history, and as one of the most protected wildlife sanctuaries in Aotearoa, Motu Tohorā boasts impressive plumes of Pohutukawa, a colony of Kekeno, the chattering call of Tieke and is sanctum to both Mokomoko and Tuatara.

Aside from the boat ride, highlights of the trip included: Being hosted and formally welcomed onto Motu Tohorā by a group from Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Te Orini ki Ngāti Awa and also kaitiaki of the island.

We were fortunate to be accompanied by Matua Rob Whitbourne he shared with us his expert knowledge on native plants and rakau identification. He had the tamariki making rope and shared tips and uses for rangiora. This was exciting for our rangatahi!

Our guides shared an abundance of local knowledge and kōrero tuku iho and we were shown how we can create different textures and colours with the use of our own whenua and rakau.  

Just when we thought there couldn’t possibly be anything more on this trip, we were taken down to a hot water beach - Onepū. Ka mau te wehi, we were spoilt to say the least. Overall, the experience not only reinvigorated historical connections, but showcased the importance of Taiao conservation.

Pictured: Rob Whitborne, Te Kura o Potaka Students

Rangatahi wananga

This month we were excited to host the first ever “Tū Ake, Whanatu!” Rangatahi Taiao Wānanga here in Te Whānau-a-Apanui. Registrations had an overwhelming response, not only locally, but also from the outer region as well. The overarching theme of this wānanga was to inspire this group into a desire to become active kaitiaki centred around the restoration of the Raukūmara Forest.


Day 1 began with karakia and mihi whakatau to welcome the manuhiri to the Te Kaha Base. Following this, we covered introductions, presentations, and outdoor displays from the kaimahi across all streams. Highlights included an authentic and most captivating kōrero from the Project Pou, Wiremu Wharepapa.


The Operations team utilized a plethora of tools and traps, along with camera footage to create a visual depiction of the harmful effects of mustelids and other pests.  The Rangatahi were privileged to witness an impressive display of comradery between the Deer and Goat ground hunting team and their canine counterparts, which is crucial for their work.  The day concluded with making kawakawa balm under the skilled tutelage of Nikita Tahere, who covered all aspects of both practice and theory.


Day 2 saw the group travel out of the rohe to meet up with the aerial culling team and Luke Lamont, pilot of the helicopter operations, at his hangar. The day proceeded after karakia and mihi whakatau, with health and safety, helicopter familiarisation, team introductions, and an interactive display of equipment the team utilizes to conduct their work. Although it was a short day, the consensus within the group was that it was an amazing experience and are eagerly anticipating the next wānanga.


He mihi nui tēnei ki ngā rangatahi me ngā kaitiaki o Whakaatu Whanaunga Trust – Whakatohea, ngā rangatahi hoki o te wā kainga nei, i whakatau i te karanga o te kaupapa.  Nikita Tahere me tōu whānau mō ngā mahi e pā ana ki te kawakawa me te rongoa.  Luke Lamont me tōu whānau i whakawātea ai tō whare wakatopatopa mō mātou – E kore ngā mihi e mutu ki a koutou katoa.

Noticing a positive change

It's been over a year since the application of cereal 1080 in Block 1 and our kaimahi are starting to see, hear, feel and even smell the differences.

"Everything that fruits, had fruit this year. There was a sweet smell in the air which we believe was the Kiekie fruit" says Operations field team lead, Hirere Ngamoki.

Pictured: Kiekie fruit, Kahikatea fruit, Mingimingi fruit, Makomako fruit

We are starting to see noticeable differences right here on our back doorstep.

"I've walked underneath these giant Pūriri trees at the Haparapara river for years. At times it was deathly quiet. But this year, there was noise. It was Tūī, Tīrairaka, Korimako, Kōtare and I even watched a mother and father Riroriro raise their young chicks, I visited them daily.

They flew around catching insects to feed their pīpī and once they were ready to leave the nest they led them to the top of the Pūriri trees where there was sunlight. It was beautiful to watch them living in peace" says Media Marketing Advisor, Michaela Insley.

Pictured: Riroriro pair feeding young chicks nested in a karamu tree

A milestone for Te Raukūmara Ngahere!

Because of the glorious weather conditions that Ngahuru has provided we were able to complete the 1080 toxin application over remaining blocks 2C and 3 of Te Raukūmara ngahere. This brings the total 1080 treatment area in Te Raukūmara to 115,825 hectares.

We can confirm that water testing results for Block 3 have returned with no traces of Sodium Fluoroacetate.

The completion of this mahi is a true testament to the hard work and expertise of every person who has been involved in this project, including the support and aroha of our people.


The area in green signifies pesticides have been laid and rāhui has been lifted.

The area in red signifies pesticides have been laid and rāhui is in place.

Deer and Goat team

Pictured: Jamie Allan and Dutch

Our highly skilled ground hunters are made up of a team of 4. Two based in Ngāti Porou, Ivan Henry and Tracy Brown and two based in Te Whānau-ā-Apanui, Toihau O'brien and Jamie Allan. Though these teams are based separately they operate very much as one.

Our Deer and Goat Ground Hunters will spend up to a week straight in Te Raukūmara ngahere and are faced with all sorts of challenges such as weather events, cold nights, wet clothing, uneven surfaces and steep terrain.

Because of the nature of their 'office' extensive planning and healthy and safety measures are put in behind their mahi before they are even deployed into the ngahere. You could say, staying on your 'A' game is a must on the Deer and Goat team.

Theres an old saying that "dogs are a mans bestfriend" and thats very much the case with our Deer and Goat Ground Hunters. But these aren't just any dogs, our team has spent hours on end training their kuri in indication and detection.

The ability of these kuri to find animals such as deer in dense, steep and tough environments has become an essential tool for our Deer and Goat Ground Hunters.

We are fortunate to have a team of extremely passionate people who have devoted their time to bettering themselves and their kuri to be able to do this type of work.

"I think the hard part of this mahi is being away from my family, but other than that, I love it out there and would stay there forever if I could" says Ground Hunter, Jamie Allan.

Tahr Conference

We were fortunate to be invited to the National Tahr Conference which was held in Twizel, Te Wai Pounamu. One of our professional aerial cullers, Caleb Wharepapa attended.

"For me it was a big reality check, it made me have a deeper appreciation towards all of those, past and present who have contributed to the foundation of Raukūmara Pae Maunga" says Caleb Wharepapa.

There is 35 professional aerial cullers in Aotearoa, 3 of whom work for this project. What was noted from this conference is that Raukūmara Pae Maunga is in a fortunate position where we have an opportunity to develop a thermal aerial control strategy that is specific to the restoration of Te Raukūmara ngahere.

Pictured: Benny Haerewa and Caleb Wharepapa

Guardians of the Kiwi

Under the expert guidance of accredited Kiwi trainer Tamsin Ward-Smith we are proud to support three of our wonderful Operations and Monitoring kaimahi, Sharon Wharepapa, Mikaire Albert and Brooklyn Grace on their mission to becoming certified Kiwi handlers.

Training can be intense, it comes with long nights, cold climate and wet weather but no challenge has been too great for Sharon, Mikaire and Brooklyn.

Maungataniwha has been a significant place for our kaimahi over the last year. We'd like to extend a special mihi to Tamsin Ward-Smith, Sheryl Collins and Nadine who have tirelessly taught, given advice and contributed to the development of our kaimahi in this field.

"I never thought I'd ever become a Kiwi handler, so getting the chance to train and handle these special taonga is second to none. This also gives me the opportunity to give back to the land and to the Raukūmara, where Kiwi would have once thrived" says Brooklyn.

Our kaimahi have been privileged to a range of trainings such as:

  • Locating kiwi

  • Performing health checks including weight and measurements

  • Operation nest egg - which involves carefully withdrawing kiwi eggs from burrows and have them safely delivered to the national kiwi hatchery

  • Carefully retrieving and handling kiwi

  • Applying transmitters

We are grateful for the opportunity to work with such amazing experts in this field, with our precious taonga species and we look forward to the future of our Raukūmara ngahere with our very own Kiwi handlers.

Pictured: Mikaere Albert, Brooklyn Grace and Sharon Wharepapa

Raukūmara Ngahere Flight Winners

Pictured: Huia Whangapirita, Eastern Drift Brady

We ran our first ever online competition and people from all over the motu entered via social media for their chance to win a life changing experience at soaring above Te Raukūmara ngahere.

Our lucky winners, Huia Whangapirita and Eastern Drift Brady met with us at our Te Kaha base and we travelled through to Opotiki to meet with local heli pilot Steve Woods.

We took off into the air travelling along the coastline before entering the Raukūmara Ngahere by following the Motu river upstream. "THIS IS AMAZING" you could hear Eastern bursting with excitement as we approached the mountain tops.

Our whānau from Ngāti Porou were privileged to stunning views of ancient rākau, steep terrain, pristine waterways, our beautiful Maunga and were given the opportunity to land. At times while we took a moment to walk around, there was silence. "It's all just overwhelming" said Huia.

It was a pleasure for us to offer this experience to our people, to be able to give back for the endless support we continuously receive, that was a privilege.

Feedback from Huia Whangapirita:

"Thank you for the incredible helicopter trip into the Raukumara. You filled our day with excitement, laughter, happiness and a profound sense of spiritual connection . Feeling the Wairua of this amazing place moved us deeply, with a mix of emotions that we will never forget. We are inspired by your dedication and look forward to the day when the Raukumara is fully restored to her rightful glory"

Watch the highlights from this trip here:

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