Aorangi Restoration Trust

AORANGI FOREST PARK

Southern Wairarapa

The Aorangi Restoration Trust consists of a group of likeminded people from a wide variety of backgrounds who have joined together for a common goal. They want to see the Aorangi Ranges and adjoining lands returned to their former glory and they have the will to make that happen. They are supported by many individuals and organizations who also want to see that goal realized.

The Trust meets regularly to go over projects and work programs to have a catchup. Shadowing the Trust is also a Steering Group made up of representatives of the major groups involved in this project. Groups such as the Depart of Conservation, Greater Wellington Regional Council, TB Free NZ, local Iwi and recreational hunting representatives along with several Trust members help to makeup this group. A management plan is being developed to give guidance to the path ahead.

The Aorangi Forest Park is a designated recreational hunting area which holds a lot of appeal to hunters and is very well utilised. The goal of the trust is to restore the normal biodiversity of the area to its original state while still allowing for a great hunting experiences.

At the beginning of the 20th century, a herd of Windsor blood-lined red deer were liberated in and around the Aorangi Range, and to this day the predominant strain is still very much Windsor based. Hunters a very supportive of the trust initiative and several hunting groups are now joining in and assisting the Trust with pest control.

SCINZ has become one of these groups and has funded the purchase of a number of traps. A local SCINZ member, Wayne Roper, has committed to manage them. This includes regular checking, baiting where necessary and generally helping the Trust control the pests.

The Trust project is leaping ahead and with groups like SCI prepared to help in combating pests, the bird life is thriving along with the general biodiversity which here includes manageable numbers of Windsor strain red deer.

The future of this herd looks very positive. With the continuing progress and management the quality of the animals seems to keep on improving.

Twenty DOC stoat traps were purchased by SCI New Zealand Chapter last year and late May 2015 the traps were set out along a 2km stretch of coastline bordering the Aorangi Forest Park. The results have been very successful with the traps being checked every 4-6 weeks.
From the 23/5/15 to 24/7/16,  11  Stoats, 9 Rats, 1 Cat and 63 Hedgehogs have been caught.