ATC Conservation Activities

ATC members regularly engage in conservation work such as pest control and track maintenance.

It's great fun, and very satisfying to be playing our part in protecting and maintaining our country's flora and fauna and rich backcountry heritage.

Oh, and it’s pretty good for the fitness as well!

Want to join us? We’d love to have you - check out our upcoming conservation weekends at the bottom of this page.

The Club is involved in two significant on-going projects – the ambitious Kaimai Ridgeway Project and a wonderfully successful and rewarding project to Save the Kokako in the King Country (see below).

The Kaimai Project

The Kaimai Range is a spectacular and rugged range of hills separating the Hauraki Plains from the Bay of Plenty.

It is the best day and multi day tramping area at this end of NZ, and features 250km of backcountry tracks and 8 backcountry huts.

2015 03 Cashmore TrackThese are nominally maintained by the Department of Conservation, although in practice DOC can only allocate minimal resources to the Kaimai backcountry.

ATC is a member club of the Kaimai Ridgeway Trust (KRT) which has taken up the challenge to ensure that the tracks and huts are maintained and improved in order to provide a full range of enjoyable recreation opportunities for a wide range of people.

We regularly schedule work parties to spend our weekends in the hills, ensuring that tracks that are less accessible for day parties do get their fair share of maintenance effort.

We stay in huts if available (including the KRT constructed and owned Te Whare Okioki), or in tents. Very rewarding work because we ensure the backcountry is enjoyable for us all.

Saving the kokako

The kokako is one of NZ’s more endangered birds that requires protection from predators to be able to survive, and a multitude of locations from which to maintain a diverse gene pool.

kokako in tree

One of these locations is the Tunawaea Stream area in the North West Pureora Forest where ATC have conducted bait distribution operations since 2011. As a result, DOC officially classified the Tunawaea as an area with a sustainable kokako population.

We visit the Tunawaea on 6 weekends each year through the spring months, to ensure that during that crucial nesting period the rat numbers have been reduced enough to allow new kokako chicks to survive those crucial first few months.

Following a track maintenance and bait packing weekend in August, during September through December we ensure our 687 bait stations are replenished with bait as needed. In the autumn we clear out all remaining bait.

Our accommodation is a comfortable farmstay cottage on a neighbouring farm (think full kitchen, cosy beds, hot showers, real food, beer in the fridge) and on busy weekends, we take advantage of their woolshed facilities too.

In addition to being of great benefit to “our” kokako, each weekend is a great social occasion, typically with a feast provided for everyone by our regular cooks on Saturday evening.

After each day out in the forest, the group return to report their wonderful experiences of hearing and seeing kokako, also the variety of other native birds that benefit from our pest control efforts.

See a superb photo record here from Feiyan Zhong and Shawn Elise Tierney of a great weekend in the Tunawaea in December 2020.

Kokako baiting Liz

Next Conservation Events

Backcountry Maintenance, Kaimai Track Maintenance - June
Backcountry Maintenance, Kaimai Track Maintenance - July
Conservation, ATC Kokako Weekend
Backcountry Maintenance, Kaimai Track Maintenance - August
Conservation, ATC Kokako Weekend
Conservation, ATC Kokako Weekend
Backcountry Maintenance, Kaimai Track Maintenance - October
Conservation, ATC Kokako Weekend
Backcountry Maintenance, Kaimai Track Maintenance - November
Conservation, ATC Kokako Weekend