News & Events

07 November 2014

Arthur pictured here with his wife and fellow Patron Pat Cowan

Kua hinga te totara i te wao nui a Tane
The totara has fallen in the forest of Tane

The funeral of our beloved Patron and founding Trustee Arthur Cowan took place on Wednesday 5th November at St Brides Anglican Church, Otorohanga. Well over 300 people attended to pay their respects and celebrate the life of someone described in 1980 as being one of the great men of conservation in New Zealand.

Arthur was a founding member of the Native Forest Restoration Trust which was formed in 1980 following a campaign against the felling of giant totara in Pureora Forest. A campaign which saw off the bulldozers and led directly to an end of logging in Crown-owned native forests.

In the 1970's, he helped to save kiwi on land being developed in Northland, driving from Otorohanga every Friday night to trap birds and release them in safe areas with a group of others. From the Arthur Cowan Reserve secured with his own funds, to the 30+ separate other properties secured by the Trust, they all stand as a lasting monument to the work of Arthur and others dedicated to conservation in New Zealand.

In 1980 he received a citation from the Nature Conservation Council for his efforts to conserve an area of bush of national importance. That same year he was awarded first prize in the individual section for flora and fauna conservation in the Waikato Savings Bank awards. In 1988 he was awarded the Loder Cup, given to individuals and groups who have made significant contributions to plant conservation work in New Zealand. His MBE was awarded for services to conservation.

Around his farm, to nearby properties if there was a piece of arable land that would benefit from flax plants or other seedlings, Arthur would be there with a band of helpers, to dig the holes and plant. Much of his work can be seen around the Otorohanga / Waitomo area, wherever you see a patch of flax and natives as you come into town, you can be pretty sure that Arthur had a hand in either planting, providing or securing where it was to be placed.

The last reserve secured by Arthur alongside Trustees was the 466 hectare Ed Hillary Hope Reserve. A process that took over 8-years was finally completed on the 28th of October 2014. The new Ed Hillary Hope Reserve has approximately 180ha of established forest and over 280ha of farmland well suited for restoration. It lies on the Hamilton–Raglan Road, adjoining the Four Brothers Scenic Reserve. The project will result in the largest area of native bush within 20km of Hamilton and will be a major link in the city’s Halo Project.

Arthur greeted the wonderful news from the Ed Hillary Hope Reserve with a broad smile and a big thumbs up! We like to think that Arthur was waiting for the new Ed Hillary Hope Reserve to be secured before leaving us. He passed away peacefully on Sunday, 2nd November 2014, aged 98 years.

22 October 2014

Work continues on our William Upton Hewett Memorial Reserve to remark tracks, clear boardwalks and put up new signage. All going well we expect some tracks to reopen for Labour Weekend. A map of tracks expected to be open can be found below.

The William Upton Hewett Memorial Reserve is north-west of Whangarei, between Pipiwai and Titoki. The Papakuri Scenic Reserve is nearby to the north. The 242ha block is mostly regenerating shrubland with a large kahikatea swamp along the eastern stream boundary. The reserve was partly destroyed by fire at the beginning of 2014.

Updates including images from the reserve can also be found on our Facebook Page or on our new LinkedIn Page.

07 October 2014

We're very pleased to announce that NFRT won the Heritage and Environment category at the fifteenth annual Trustpower Wairoa Community Awards last night.

A big thanks to Trustpower Community for recognising the hard work of Honorary Ranger Ian Pickering in bringing community together at our Opoutama Wetland Reserve. Well done Ian!

Photographs from the event can be viewed on our Facebook Page.

Honorary Ranger Ian Pickering Receives Award

06 October 2014

If you're looking for a truly inspirational read, a great resource or a perfect Christmas present why not purchase Paradise Saved at the special web price of $49.99 and donate a portion of the profits to the Native Forest Restoration Trust?

Please remember to select "NZ Native Forest Restoration Trust" from the drop down list of sanctuaries to donate to us.

Buy Paradise Saved and Support NFRT

Paradise Saved tells the remarkable story of a nation's response to the threat of extinction faced by its flora and fauna.

Over the last 30 years New Zealand scientists, communities and government have developed and implemented a science of species translocation, habitat restoration and pest eradication that is not only stemming the tide of extinction, but is actively returning locally extinct species to communities throughout New Zealand.

23 September 2014

We have decided to close all tracks at William Upton Hewett Memorial Reserve to allow for some repair and re-marking work to be carried out. Some of the more easily fixed tracks will reopen in October but the back loop, which was affected by a fire and slips, will remain closed until early 2015. We will upload new track maps shortly. Signs have already been put in place on the reserve to inform trampers of the changes.

The William Upton Hewett Memorial Reserve is north-west of Whangarei, between Pipiwai and Titoki. The Papakuri Scenic Reserve is nearby to the north. The 242ha block is mostly regenerating shrubland with a large kahikatea swamp along the eastern stream boundary. The reserve was partly destroyed by fire at the beginning of 2014.

Updates including images from the reserve can also be found on our Facebook Page.

10 June 2014

It is with great pleasure that we announce the appointment of Colin Shore as Honorary Ranger of Pigeon Bush Reserve. Colin is ex army, from the Wairarapa, and brings with him a great depth of skills and experience including planning, pest control, track maintenance and wetland restoration. He is Chairman of Forest & Bird, Wairarapa and a member of the Ornithological Society. His interests include tramping, hunting, kayaking and photography.

Colin is a self confessed bush basher who loves the outdoors and sees this project as a great challenge. We welcome Colin to the role and believe he is well and truly up to the challenge!

As many of you will know the position became vacant following the untimely passing of Neil Challands who died earlier this year at Wellington Hospital after a short illness, aged 55 years. Neil was highly respected and was an outstanding Honorary Ranger. Although Colin has big boots to fill we believe we have found someone capable of continuing and building on Neil’s hard work.

09 June 2014

TBfree New Zealand is working with us to stamp out pests in the Rangitoto Range to control bovine tuberculosis (TB) and bring the birds back.

The Hauhungaroa and Rangitoto ranges make up a part of New Zealand’s 10 million hectare TB risk area in which TB-infected wild animals have been found.

Rangitoto Station is one of our flagship reserves and home to kaka, tui, falcon and robins as well as giant totara, rimu and kahikatea all of which are in danger of pest browsing and predation.

NFRT Southern Reserve Manager Sharen Graham said the operation would follow up on previous aerial control in the area to protect native birds and bush.
“The trust actively supports the upcoming aerial 1080 operation because the method has previously proven to leave the ecosystem in a much richer state than when possums, rats and stoats are devouring native wildlife,” she said.

The objective of the national pest management plan is to eradicate the disease from at least 2.5 million hectares of the country’s total TB risk area by 2026. TBfree New Zealand aims to eradicate the disease from the Rangitoto Range as part of this plan.

09 May 2014

We are happy to see that no permits were granted this week for mining in Pureora which is very good news. It is hoped that continued public pressure will persuade governments not to destroy our precious places.

07 May 2014

In two days Simon Bridges, Minister of Energy and Resources, will announce the decisions on areas where the government will grant permits for mining exploration. One possible area is the Pureora Forest Park where conservationists fought hard in the late 70's to preserve this rare example of ancient North Island lowland forest. The success of this campaign inspired the foundation of the Native Forest Restoration Trust with the goal of protecting as much remaining forest as possible.

Conservation Minister Nick Smith insists that permits are only for preliminary exploration and will not necessarily result in mining activity taking place. However Pureora Forest is not protected under Schedule 4 and if significant mineral deposits were to be discovered it is likely that the government would consider trading off conservation values for economic development. The majority of the ancient totara trees in New Zealand are found in the Pureora Forest. It is also home to the endangered kokako.

On May 9, Simon Bridges will announce the permits he has granted. The Trust urges supporters to make their opinions known to both Simon Bridges and Nick Smith here. These ancient trees which have spent centuries growing should not be sacrificed for short term jobs and economic gains for a few.

17 April 2014

Testifying to the Trust's high reputation, the position of Manager attracted a strong field of applicants from whom the clear choice was Sandy Crichton. He began work in January and has quickly become part of the team, handling our affairs with the skill and diplomacy this key position requires. Sandy, who belongs to the NZ Ecological Society and to the Chartered Institute of Ecology & Environmental Management, comes with a proven record as a project manager, conservationist and protected species consultant. He has particular interests in the NZ falcon and this country's native bats, with expertise in survey methods for these species. 'Forest & Bird' magazine carried his illustrated article "On a wing and a prayer" in its May 2009 copy. Sandy's communication skills, and background operating in or with the voluntary sector have special relevance to his appointment with the Trust.

Sandy's professional qualifications and training are well suited to his work with us. His early experience in Britain included voluntary work on an archaeological and museum project where he designed and prepared educational resource material. He went on to complete a BSc Honours degree at the University of Sussex, which has a strong reputation in the sciences, before securing a Research Assistantship with the University of Cambridge on the field behaviour of meerkats. After several years of business experience in the UK, Sandy came to New Zealand in 2003 attracted by opportunities at Otago University where he gained a Postgraduate Diploma, awarded with Distinction, in the field of Natural History Filmmaking and Communication. The endangered NZ falcon became a particular focus while working alongside the Ornithological Society in efforts to promote awareness of the bird's need for protection, especially among landowners and forestry workers. At the same time, while acting as a voluntary consultant in Otago, Sandy set up a video company, Catskill Films, to make the documentary "Karearea, the pine falcon". This won awards at many film festivals worldwide, including top awards at Reel Earth Film Festival 2009. Three years in Britain first as a filmmaker, then as an ecologist concerned with ecological surveys, habitat management and protected species conservation, preceded Sandy's return to New Zealand. We are confident that Trust supporters will welcome our new manager's part in the effective working of the Native Forest Restoration Trust.