News & Events

09 April 2015

A new reserve between Hamilton and Raglan will result in the largest area of native bush within 20km of Hamilton.

Opening in May 2015, the Ed Hillary Hope Reserve is a large property with over 200ha of established forest and over 250ha of farmland well suited for restoration.

Ed Hillary Hope Reserve

The area will be restored by the Native Forest Restoration Trust one of the country's leading non-government organisations involved in natural habitat protection and restoration.

“Our ultimate aim is to restore as much as possible of the property to native bush.” Trust Manager Sandy Crichton said.

Old logging tracks will be developed into walking tracks. Manuka regeneration will be used for honey production, and with some of the area eligible for carbon credits, the income can be used to help fund restoration, pest management, and future land purchase.

“We plan to connect the Karamu Walkway through the new reserve to create a loop track, a track that we would like to tell the story of restoration.” Crichton said.

Named after Sir Edmund Hillary and the Hope family, owners of property in the area for almost 80 years, the reserve will be a major link in the Hamilton City’s Halo Project which aims to bring native birds, such as tui and bellbirds, back into Hamilton City.

With only one month before the reserve opens, representatives from the Native Forest Restoration Trust will be attending the Waikato Show’s EnviroExpo so that members of the community have an opportunity to come along and learn about the Trust’s plans and find out how to get involved.

NFRT at the Waikato Show

“The proximity of the reserve to Raglan and Hamilton makes the site potentially very special, and there will be lots of community involvement. The Waikato Show is a wonderful opportunity not only to promote the work of the Trust, but also to promote the new reserve and its opening on the 23rd May.” Crichton said.

The Ed Hillary Hope Reserve will bring the Native Forest Restoration Trust’s total number of reserves to 28.

“We would like to see the Ed Hillary Hope Reserve become a flagship reserve for the Trust, a reserve with great public access and high recreation value.”

The reserve is located next to the Four Brothers Reserve (and the Karamu Walkway), midway between Hamilton and Raglan on SH23.

Show opens tomorrow
Waikato Show, Claudelands Events Centre April 10-12
Hours: Friday, Saturday & Sunday 10am-5pm
Friday Carnival Night: 5-10pm
General admission: $5, children under 5 free
Parking: through Gate 4 off Brooklyn Rd
For more information visit:

04 February 2015

Eye on Nature 2015Eye on Nature 2015

Following the success of Eye on Nature 2014, the Manukau Beautification Charitable Trust will again host the event with an impressive group of 28 environmentally active partners and sponsors including the Native Forest Restoration Trust at the Auckland Botanic Gardens.

The event vision in 2015 is to:

“Plant a seed and grow a young mind to engage positively in ongoing environmental activities”.

Up to 1500 year 5 and 6 students will attend the schools fun and interactive educational activity days on Tuesday 24 March, Wednesday 25 March and Thursday 26 March 2015.  

Students travel to the event courtesy of buses arranged by the Manukau Beautification Charitable Trust. As well as enjoying the arts and crafts, and interactive learning and educator-led games and activities, students will spend time in the Totara forest.

This will again be followed by a FREE community day for families and the general public which NFRT will again be a part of on Saturday 28 March 2015. A range of entertainment, hands-on arts and crafts, games, maze activities, bush walks, cave exploration, archaeologists sand pit dig, cooking demonstrations and door prizes are all part of the fun. 

We look forward to supporting this year's event as it continues to grow from strength to strength!

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.