Where children can discover our natural wonders; where scientists can advance knowledge; and our community can play a part in conservation.
This conservation project is located in beautiful native forest on the crest of the Coromandel Ranges at Mahakirau Forest Estate. For almost 20 years we have been undertaking an extensive programme to protect and enhance our natural environment. We are guardians of some of New Zealand’s most endangered treasures which are nationally identified conservation priorities, including:
* ARCHEY'S FROG | One of the world’s most endangered amphibians, the Archey’s Frog is no. 1 on the London Zoological Society’s EDGE List (Ecologically Distinct Globally Endangered).
* NORTHERN STRIPED GECKO | TOROPUKU COROMANDEL | Mahakirau is home to 80% of the listed population of these newly discovered rare geckos.
* HELM'S BUTTERFLY (FOREST RINGLET | On the brink of extinction, the Helm's Butterfly was previously common throughout New Zealand. However an expert from David Attenborough’s UK Butterfly Conservation Trust recently spent 12 weeks searching the span of the country and only found 5 – solely at Mahakirau.
* NORTH ISLAND BROWN KIWI | The Coromandel is the only part of New Zealand where the kiwi population is growing and our kiwi survey this year has identified 5-7 birds calling, the first for some years. It is truly thrilling to be welcoming them home again.
We are experiencing strong demand for people to engage with, and gain insight from our project and will greatly benefit from a dedicated ‘place’ to provide:
• A learning centre on site with educational resources and the opportunity to immediately practice what has been learnt.
• A base where scientific and academic experts can stay short term and therefore study on site, attracting high quality partnerships.
• A base for community conservation volunteers to meet, share knowledge and inspire others.
• Storage for predator control and H&S equipment.
• A base to help upskill and train other community groups and volunteers whether in predator control techniques; gps workshops; flora and fauna identification.
A resource consent has been secured, and we have raised 70% of the funding ourselves with grateful support from NZ Lotteries Commission, QEII National Trust, Pub Charity Ltd, Trust Waikato, Waikato Regional Council, private donations and the proceeds of a cake stall from our local pre-school, Riverlee.
We could really use your help (no matter how large or small) to raise the final budget required to make our dream a reality.
The funds will be used for the construction and operation of our Field Base | Community Hub; educational materials and literature; supporting scientific research and the protection of our endangered species.
First Delivery On Site 3 October 2020
On Thursday we waited anxiously outside the front gates to Mahakirau Forest. We heard the truck and trailer making its way up the narrow, windy 309 Road long before it came into view. The driver looked slightly traumatised, and then relieved, to be off the gravel and into the safety of the Estate!
Our first delivery was the two Royal Wolf containers - one to house the storage facility and community tool shed; the second the education facility. Both are now securely located on their foundations ready for the internal fit out.
The crew from Stop Digging have installed the screw pile foundations in preparation for the modular pod which arrives early next week.
There will still be a lot to do (including further fundraising!) but it is extremely motivating to see the first of the dwellings nestled on the site and uplifting to imagine them in use.
Many thanks for coming with us on this journey.
Ngā mihi maioha,
The MFESI Community