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Rotokare Scenic Reserve Trust

  • The slip on the ridge

      30 March 2022
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    A weekend of torrential rain resulted in a huge slip on O'Connors Gully, close to the fence and on the Ridge Track. This slip posed an imminent risk to the fence platform, which is our #1 defense against pest invasion.

    A quick response from Trustees, staff, Eltham Construction and Beck Helicopters (totaling over 80 hours labour), saw a retaining wall built. This quick action prevented that possibility of further damage in the next rain event a few days later.

    We are really fortunate to have this high level of support from our community. You guys rock!!!

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  • We welcome Sophie Tucker to the Rotokare whanau

      6 September 2021
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    Sophie Tucker started with us as Sanctuary Manager on 9 August 2021.

    Sophie is a Chartered Engineer with over 20 years project and general management experience. She has always enjoyed bringing teams together to successfully lead innovative and challenging projects over the years.

    As a keen tramper and mountaineer, Sophie is also a highly active volunteer member of Taranaki Alpine Club where she draws on her energy, enthusiasm and organisational skills to encourage and support others to learn about and enjoy the Taranaki Mounga.

    Having been awed by the stunning natural beauty of New Zealand during a holiday in 2013, Sophie then moved to New Zealand from the UK in 2014 to follow her dream of a more outdoors focussed lifestyle.

    “I’m absolutely thrilled to have this opportunity to integrate both my personal and professional skills to lead the team at Rotokare Scenic Reserve. It’s a dream role because it combines so many of the things that I enjoy!” says Sophie. “I’m really looking forward to working with the skilled and passionate team of staff and volunteers in this beautiful location, and the many supporting organisations, to build upon the fantastic achievements at Rotokare and lead it into the future”.

    We are looking forward to positive outcomes at Rotokare as a result of Sophie’s energetic personality, passion for people and the outdoors, and visionary, management and team leadership skills.

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  • Simon Collins - cheeky champion for conservation. 25 .2.1973 – 20.3.2021

      12 May 2021
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    As Rotokare Sanctuary Manger, Simon had opportunity to progress Rotokare Scenic Reserve Trust’s vision through his unique style of leadership. He was a strong advocate with an indefatigable drive and commitment to conservation. The Rotokare whanau was very important to Simon, he cared deeply about all the family of staff and volunteers, sensitive to everyone’s moods and state of mind. There was always time for a laugh and a beer after the hard work on any project was done. Simon was a natural leader, fluent speechmaker, passionate conservationist whose eyes lit up when talking about Rotokare’s part to play in regional and national conservation goals. He rarely took no for an answer, if you didn’t agree with him it simply meant that he hadn’t finished convincing you.

    Matt Maitland, co-chair of Sanctuaries of NZ recently reminded us, that although Simon had no formal academic qualifications in the area of conservation, he could hold his own in any company and was respected throughout the conservation and sanctuaries communities of New Zealand. Matt also acknowledged Simon as a leader of conservation in New Zealand, and because of New Zealand’s international conservation record, Simon was also a leader in conservation internationally.

    Simon had an indefatigable drive and commitment to conservation and played a huge part in making Rotokare the incredible place it is. In Simon’s words – “Today, nine species have been translocated back into the sanctuary, three of which were extinct in Taranaki. The return, repopulation and then supply of native species is a multi-decade programme. Ultimately, the vision is to have the sanctuary “spewing” out wildlife naturally to the surrounding environment”.

    “This is the best possible example of what the Towards Predator-Free Taranaki vision is – and we are actually past that point within the sanctuary.”

    Simon lead the Rotokare Scenic Reserve Trust to be awesome. In 2019 the Trust won the Taranaki Chamber of Commerce not-for-profit business award. And in 2020 the Trust won the New Zealand Department of Conservation Community Kahiwi Award. Simon recognised the value of awards, as an appreciation of the hard work of the entire Rotokare whanau and as a useful advocacy tool for conservation in Taranaki in general. In his words the Trust’s job was to “kick-ass!”

    Simon passed suddenly, as a result of a heart attack, while out cycling on Saturday 20th March. His input, insight and cheeky personality will be deeply missed by the people, communities and organisations who were fortunate to know and work with him.

    A service to celebrate Simon’s life was held at the May Alice Chapel in Stratford on 27th March, 2021. It was not surprising that the chapel was packed, because Simon’s life touched so many people. Friends, conservationists and former colleagues travelled from the length of the country, including Penguin Place, Dunedin and Whangarei to pay their respects and acknowledge his life’s work. A guard of honour by Rotokare whanau and haka by Taranaki rangatahi also acknowledged Simon’s passing and his great achievements. In lieu of flowers that family requested that donations be made to Rotokare Scenic Reserve Trust.

    Both before and after the service, moving karakia, led by Tane Houston (Ngati Tupaia), at Rotokare helped with the passing of Simon’s spirit. In a very uncommon occurrence, and an acknowledgement of the esteem that Ngati Tupaia held for Simon, his wairua was instilled as kaitiake at Rotokare.

    Simon's legacy will live on. Always the advocate, Simon’s consistent commitment brought so much life back to this region. His spirit remains strong at Rotokare.

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  • Spring at the Sanctuary

      21 December 2020
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    The sanctuary is flourishing!

    All the species that we monitor have had a successful start to the breeding season.

    We are seeing an increase in visitors enjoying the sanctuary and some enjoying the opportunity to freedom camp inside a fenced sanctuary.

    Now is a great time to get out and explore New Zealand.

    Rotokare Scenic Reserve is part of the great Sanctuaries of New Zealand Trail. The sanctuary is free to enter and open 24/7 .

    We were delighted and humbled to be win the NZ Biosecurity Award for established community projects in November at the beehive. This award recognizes the success of the project here at Rotokare in terms of national significance.

    Thank you for your support that enables us to achieve huge gains in ecological restoration for the long term benefit of species in Taranaki and New Zealand.

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  • Sanctuary Open at Level One.

      10 June 2020
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    We are so excited to be able to fully open to our community now we are at level one.

    Overnight camping is permitted and visitors will be able to hear and see all of our nocturnal wildlife.

    Looking forward to seeing you here.

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  • Update 28 May 2020

      28 May 2020

    Thank you so much for your support so far.

    The sanctuary is open for our community from 8;30 - 5;30 under Alert Level 2.

    Our staff and volunteers are currently working on a complex kiwi translocation project with our partners Taranaki Kiwi Trust. Expect more updates here over the next few weeks.

    Your support directly contributes to successful ecological restoration outcomes such as this.

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