The Fiordland Conservation Trust

Welcome to the Fiordland Conservation Trust, est. 2007

The Fiordland Conservation Trust is a community-driven initiative supporting conservation projects in Fiordland, Southland and New Zealand's Sub-Antarctic Islands. 

The conservation jigsaw puzzle

Each project is a jigsaw piece that fits properly into the big picture, a picture that is turning from a flat 2 dimensional postcard picture into a 3D future of sounds, movement, footprints - tieke, mohua, kakaruai, pateke, whio, kakapo, pekapeka-tou-roa, oligosoma pikitanga - just some of the birds, bats and skinks that are no longer a fragment of a guiltily ignorant past but are a vibrant part of a regenerating and sustainable future.

For further information about the Trust, go to About Us.

The latest news:

5 June 2015

Kids Restore the Kepler wins Green Ribbon Award

Kids Restore the Kepler has won the 2015 Green Ribbon Award for Leadership in Communication and Education category in Wellington at the Awards Ceremony at Parliament!!

Pictured here is a photo taken by Ruud Kleinpaste which he texted thru showing the Conservation Minister Hon, Maggie Barry, with Murray and Thomas Lundman, Fiordland College Deputy Headboy doing acceptance speeches!
Kids REstore the Kepler receives the 2015 Green Ribbon Award for Leadership in Education

17 April 2015

Lobster Company helps return kiwi to Fiordland

Hannah Edmonds releasing Kiwi on Anchor IslandLittle spotted kiwi/kiwipukupuku are today being returned to Dusky Sound in Fiordland for the first time in more than a century thanks to the support of the Fiordland Lobster Company.

Twenty birds are being transferred from Kapiti Island north of Wellington to predator-free Anchor Island/Pukenui in Dusky Sound to start another population of this endangered kiwi.  Originally from the South Island, little spotted kiwi were present in Dusky Sound up until the late 1800s.

DOC Conservation Services Manager Lindsay Wilson says the kiwi transfer was made possible by financial support from the Fiordland Lobster Company, and is being undertaken in partnership with the Fiordland Conservation Trust, Air New Zealand and iwi.

“Thanks to the help from our partners, establishing a new little spotted kiwi population in Fiordland will help numbers of this threatened species to continue to grow.”

The kiwi were flown from Wellington to Queenstown courtesy of Air New Zealand as part of the partnership with DOC to help transport native species to safe breeding sites around the country.   

The care and kaitiakitanga of kiwipukupuku on Kapiti Island for over a century by Ngāti Toa Rangatira has enabled their redistribution back to Dusky Sound.

The birds were accompanied by Hohepa Potini, a representative of Ngāti Toa Rangatira and will be welcomed to the island by Dave Taylor of Ngāi Tahu Rūnaka o Ōraka-Aparima.

Fiordland Conservation Trust Chairman Murray Willans said the Trust was proud to support the kiwi transfer and were grateful for the assistance of the Fiordland Lobster Company.

“The return of the little spotted kiwi to this part of Fiordland puts in place another piece of the jigsaw in the restoration of the Dusky Sound environment.”

The kiwi will be monitored for their first year and if they do well, more birds will be moved to Anchor Island/Pukenui to reach a target of 45 birds.

Little spotted kiwi became extinct on the South Islandmainland in the early 1900s—and predator-free islands have become essential for its survival.    The species was first returned to Fiordland toTe Kakahu/ Chalky Island in 2008 and also lives on several other off-shore islands as well as the Karori Sanctuary in Wellington.

10 April 2015

Another massive milestone in the Kepler Mountains

Work to return birdsong and protect fragile forest ecosystems in the Kepler Mountains near Te Anau, home to one of New Zealand’s iconic Great Walks, the Kepler is in full swing and well on its way.

Stage 1 of the Kepler Backyard Birdsong restoration project was set up in 2010, comprising 3000ha, led by the Fiordland Conservation Trust and named Kids Restore the Kepler, a community initiative with a twist: the driving force behind this remarkable restoration and education project is the next generation of New Zealanders, kids.

The Kids Restore the Kepler project has earned the reputation of being the best practice model for community conservation education and it’s a reputation that has been hard earned and well deserved.  Every knockdown of predators has been a milestone to be celebrated and applauded, the result of planning behind the scenes and 5 years hard work by the Trust, DOC, the kids, schools, learning centres and community.

Kids Restore the Kepler self-setting trapThe latest milestone involves the use of 467 self-setting traps in 200ha at Harts Hill in the Kids Restore the Kepler area. The A24 project run in conjunction with DOC began in October last year when Goodnature A24 traps containing chocolate-based lures were set up by DOC staff and volunteers. In September, rats were monitored at plague proportions of 72% before the project began, which was due to beech masting.  Less than 3 months later DOC monitored rats at 0% while in a nearby control area, they remained at 70%. Local Fiordland College student, Tim Barrow helped DOC Biodiversity Ranger Sam Gibson to maintain the traps over the school holidays. Nearly 6 months on from set-up, rats are still at undetectable levels and remain controlled at those levels.

DOC predator control expert Darren Peters leading the project says, “This is great news. Self-setting traps are a key tool for pest control because they are humane, non toxic and reduce labour costs allowing conservationists to cover even larger areas. They have the potential to slash conventional trap costs by up to 75 percent."

In the coming months DOC will increase self setting rat control in the Kids Restore the Kepler setting up additional traps in a targeted area covering a further 400ha at Harts Hill.

Chairman of the Fiordland Conservation Trust, Murray Willans said, “The self-setting technology certainly looks promising, and has the potential to be another valuable tool for conservation efforts. Keeping pests at low numbers all the time is critical to increasing our native species population and to bringing back the birdsong to the Kepler, to have them remain at zero density is even better.”

April 2015

New Fiordland Conservation Trust Trustee Appointed

Greg Hay, co-owner of Peregrine Wines has accepted the invitation of the trustees of Fiordland Conservation Trust to join their ranks as trustee. The offer follows the resignation of Mark Peychers from the position due to work commitments elsewhere. The Trust extends its heartfelt gratitude to Mark for all his hard work and commitment to the Trust and to conservation of our threatened and at risk native species.

Greg and Peregrine Wines are no strangers to the Trust or to conservation in Fiordland. Greg has been the Trust’s Patron for the past 2 years and the company he co-owns, Peregrine Wines have funded several significant conservation projects with the Trust (in addition to other non-Trust conservation projects) including the translocation of 39 tieke/saddleback to Te Kakahu o Tamatea/Chalky Island, with a further 36 tieke being transferred to Bauza Island in Doubtful Sound/Patea. The sale of Peregrine’s award wining pinot noir, Saddleback fittingly helped pay for both transfers. Peregrine’s third Trust project in 2011 heralded a truly historic moment for conservation when, for first time in 120 years since Richard Henry’s translocation work on Resolution Island in the 1890s, 60 mohua were reintroduced onto the island, adding another piece to the conservation jigsaw in the restoration of Dusky Sound.

Greg brings to his new role with the Trust significant skills including wide experience in marketing, communications and strategic planning.  Fiordland Conservation Trust Chairman Murray Willans said “the Trust is very fortunate to have Greg as a trustee, he is enthusiastic and very committed to conservation and Fiordland,  with his skills and experience he is a perfect fit for us. Greg has certainly more than earned his position as trustee of Fiordland Conservation Trust and we look forward to working with him.”

New appointment to Fiordland Conservation trust

Education co-ordinator for Kids Restore the Kepler

21st January 2015

Fiordland Conservation Trust is delighted to announce the appointment of Dr. Alessandra Menegatti as the Education Coordinator for the Trust’s Kids Restore the Kepler project following the resignation of Jo Marsh. Jo continues to undertake superb environmental management work for the Trust through her business, Restoration SolutioNZ including the upcoming Indian Island Robin monitoring.

Being a former science and biology teacher at Fiordland College, a mother of a daughter at Te Anau Primary and a husband who also teaches science and physics at the College, it would be fair to say Alessandra knows the local education system very well. Trust manager, Laura Harry, notes “The role of the Education Coordinator is to provide professional support to teachers whilst also supporting students to identify opportunities to extend their classroom based learning and thinking into taking action and to be fully involved both in learning and in taking action for their local environment in the Kepler. Alessandra ticks all the boxes. As with our previous education coordinators (Caroline Carter, Tina Perry and Jo Marsh) Alessandra will undoubtedly bring passion, fantastic skills and experience to the role”.

Alessandra is a passionate environmentalist with a strong academic background and a love for the natural world. Her impeccable academic skills and experience in the geology field with a PhD in Geology and a degree in Geological Sciences combined with a background in art come together in a neat fit for the role of the education coordinator. Having lived in Te Anau for 9 years, Alessandra has an appreciation of the unique natural environment of Fiordland and the drive to ensure opportunities provided by the project are realised in the schools and early childhood centres in the Te Anau basin.

Donations from Kids Restore NZ, Ian and Jenny Willans, and an offshore family with a passion for conservation education have helped fund the part-time position in the past. Going forward the Trust is grateful for the funding received from the Community Conservation Partnerships Fund for ensuring the position is funded for the next 3 years.

Alessandra says “I am truly thrilled and enthusiastic about this role which will enable me to work alongside teachers and encourage younger members of our community to explore many aspects and exciting opportunities in the fields of environmental and conservation education which this project offers. I’m looking forward to building on the wonderful work undertaken by the former education coordinators and to help continue keeping the Kids Restore the Kepler a community and place based project, one that involves real collaboration and partnerships.”

Kim Hollows, Vice-Chair of the Fiordland Conservation Trust said “The Trustees are excited with the appointment of Alessandra. The Kids restore the Kepler project has earned a reputation nationwide as a ‘best practice’ model of community conservation education which is simply fantastic. It is thanks to the commitment and vision of the Te Anau Community and our Education Coordinators involved in this project that it has achieved this reputation and gone onto to be the success that it is. This project belongs to everyone. Alessandra joins us at a time when further significant steps forward need to be taken for continued integration into the education curricula and we are fortunate to have Alessandra join us in this role at this time.“

The winter months 2014

A focus on funding

The latest edition of Jigsaw, the Trust's newsletter, outlines the focus on funding that has occurred during the winter months of this year. Click here to download the August 2014 edition.

Crucial work has been done in securing ongoing sponsorship, new funding and donations for our long term projects in Milford Sound/Piopiotahi (the Sinbad Sanctuary project), on the Kepler Peninsula (Kids Restore the Kepler project), and in Dusky Sound/Tamatea's island complex (Indian Island/Mamaku restoration) and for our one-off translocations to the southern fiords' pest free islands such as Dusky's Anchor Island/Pukenui).

The Fiordland Conservation Trust is incredibly grateful to the companies, institutions and individuals involved. Add to the monies confirmed the Department of Conservation's technical expertise, and 2015 looks like becoming a very busy and productive year.

Some additional projects being considered by the Trust
  • involvement with restoration of the Tarawera Chimney in Preservation Inlet, the 2MTT Reunion committee having already generously donated $1.600 to the work 
  • upgrading of Doubtful Sound/Patea's West Arm/Wilmot Pass/Deep Cove trapping network, working with the West Arm/Deep Cove Road Users' group. Meridian have contributed $13,000 towards this work this year 
  • translocations of species such as snipe/tutukiwi, saddleback/tieke, tui into the island sanctuaries of Dusky Sound.

As always, we do need more help! We would love you to be involved. 

Click here if you want to help us put the conservation jigsaw pieces into place in this incredibly important part of New Zealand's wild land and seascape.

June 2014

Little spotted kiwi/apteryx owenii - rescheduled again

Foiled again. We may be able to achieve this first transfer of the little spotted kiwi onto Anchor Island sometime during June if the weather cooperates at the right time. If not, it may mean a deferral till next year as the breeding season begins in July and the kiwi need time to settle into a new environment prior to breeding.

May 2014

Little spotted kiwi/apteryx owenii - flight rescheduled

With funding from Fiordland Lobster Company, in a long-term project managed by the Fiordland Conservation Trust, the DOC team are aiming to undertake on Tuesday 3 June, the first of what is to be hoped will be a number of transfers.

May's stormy conditions meant that the first transfer of the little spotted kiwi onto Anchor Island in Dusky Sound had to be rescheduled.

A more promising weather forecast for the first few days of June has us excited - we will let you know how it goes.

April 2014

FCT appoints new manager

The Fiordland Conservation Trust is thrilled to announce the appointment of Laura Harry as the new manager of the Trust. Click here for further details.

And in saying farewell after six years as Manager of the Trust, Rachel Cockburn has put together this 'movie' - a great record of what the Trust is about. Thank you Rachel.

March 2014

Jigsaw - FCT newsletter - March 2014

The latest edition of the Fiordland Conservation Trust's newsletter, Jigsaw, is now available online.

Click here to download (1.75Mb) and catch up with what everyone involved with the Trust, has been doing in this part of New Zealand in recent months.





The very new, very cool KRtK LOGO

- everyone loves it!

It received the big tick from the KRtK Leadership team at its first meeting for the year held on Tuesday 4 March.

The Fiordland Conservation Trustees think it is very cool and gave their official approval on Monday 10 March.

Air New Zealand's Kids Restore New Zealand trustees have reviewed it. Jenny Harper, KRNZ Trustee has written a letter to the KRTK Leadership team saying that the Trustees "would like to congratulate the KRTK Leadership Team and in particular Miu and Tui for your great work on the development of a logo. Your design, development process and fine tuning has produced a result that you can be very proud of and which is reflective of the outstanding work being undertaken as part of the Kids Restore the Kepler project. Well done!"

A video of the process has been made and here's the link to that.

February 2014

Rachel Cockburn, Trust Manager, to change her conservation focus

It is with much regret that the Trust has accepted Rachel Cockburn's decision to step down from the role of Manager after six years of working hard to ensure that the Trust's vision has been translated into some amazing application in both its long-term projects and its one-off translocations. As the Chair Murray Willans stated, thanks to Rachel's professional and dedicated approach, 'the Trust is in a place where it's well respected and well regarded by the national community'.

The QEII covenanting of a significant area of their farm is Rachel's next conservation focus but that means the Trust needs a new manager.

January 2014

Some light reading:

Thanks to Jo Marsh of Restoration SolutioNZ, a second bird monitoring report for the Kids Restore the Kepler project is now complete. 

This can be compared with the report published in February 2013 and we can begin to track the results of the hard work being done by the kids restoring the Kepler and by all the other volunteers involved in this huge long-term project to bring the birdsong back to the Kepler.

Click here for a link to the Kids Restore the Kepler project page, which now has both reports posted in the right hand column in pdf form.

Jo is particularly adept at writing a readable report.  It is worth taking the time to read the detail and to remember that just as the Kids Restore New Zealand and other sponsors of the project have generously demonstrated with their long-term funding commitments, we all need to be in this for the long haul.

December 2013

A new project and a new sponsor

The Fiordland Conservation Trust is really pleased to be embarking on a new project with the Fiordland Lobster Company and the Department of Conservation. Thanks to the lobster company's commitment to our national bird, 45 of our little spotted kiwi, apteryx owenii, are to be given another new home in Fiordland, this time Dusky Sound's stoat-free Anchor Island/Pukenui. 

The only kiwi to have become extinct on the mainland, this project is essential for ensuring their long-term survival. They'll be translocated from the sanctuary of Kapiti Island, to which the little spotted was first transferred for safe-keeping at the turn of the 20th century. Click here for more detail.

November 2013

Fiordland Conservation Trust newsletter: 

Jigsaw - November 2013

Check out the latest news about the work being managed by the Trust.



Sinbad Sanctuary

For those of you who like to follow the progress in depth, the 2012/13 DOC Sinbad Sanctuary Annual Report is in the 2013 download section of the Sinbad Sanctuary project page or it can be downloaded by clicking here. This truly unique ecosystem with its own alpine lizard population is really worth the work being done in Milford's Sinbad Gully.

Southern Discoveries' ongoing commitment to the project is what is making it possible. 


October 2013

TOWER Tutus on Tour 2013
- ballet and bats?

The Royal New Zealand Ballet will be in Te Anau on 3 December. It is their 60th anniversary and that in itself is worthy of celebration.

The connection with conservation? Joining us for this celebration of dance will help fund the work of the Fiordland Conservation Trust. It is our main fundraiser and the tickets are now on sale - Southland District Council office and Fab & Finesse. 

Another tough call for conservation

The Kids restoring the Kepler are considering ways of dealing with the issue of cats in the Kepler. Click on their news link and scroll down the page for further information.

If you are in the area on 31 October, there's a public meeting in Te Anau to work through with the community, the challenges that the kids have identified. Details are here. Otago University researcher Yolanda van Heezik will present her findings about cats in the Dunedin area.

This is something else that the Kids restoring the Kepler have been working on - some ideas for spending time with your kids in the outdoors.

September 2013

The long term decisions

Long-term conservation projects such as those managed by the Fiordland Conservation Trust take place alongside ongoing pest eradication research done by the scientists. Issues arise that need to be debated to enable the best decisions to be made. E.g. what happens in an ecosystem when stoat numbers come under control?

Graeme Elliot, a DOC scientist with an extensive background in optimising animal pest control to achieve the best conservation outcomes, recently shared his expertise with the Trust. A video of the discussion is available online by clicking on this YouTube link.

It's about one hour long but well worth it if you want to gain an in-depth understanding of the intricacies of pest control and the implications for conservation projects such as those taking place in Fiordland.

August 2013

Vigilant trapping in the Cleddau Delta and Milford corridor 'paying dividends'

As John Robson commented in the latest edition of Jigsaw, Milford's native birdlife has begun to reestablish itself with the 'trapping programme in the Milford corridor paying dividends'.

The team to thank for this change is Steve and Kate Norris's Trips & Tramps. Journeying as they do from Te Anau into Milford every day with their clients, they can regularly check their traps. Their vigilance is ensuring introduced pest numbers remain low and the native wildlife has a chance. Thanks team! Read more about the project here including trapping updates.

July 2013

Fiordland Conservation Trust newsletter: Jigsaw - July 2013

Check out the latest news about the work being managed by the Trust, including plans for Te Anau's very own spy agency, enabled by the generous donations of the public and by the Trust's incredibly committed sponsors, who range from local businesses to international visitors.

Distinction Hotels NZ join the Kids Restore the Kepler Project

In July 2013, the Trust welcomed a new level of commitment to the KRTK project from Distinction Hotels NZ, following on from their previous sponsorship of the Kepler bat research project. The New Zealand wide hotel chain having begun in Te Anau with the Distinction Luxmore and Distinction Te Anau hotels, will come in as a second-tier sponsor with a determination to help this project in the long-term. Check out the KRTK project page for more detail.

Sinbad Sanctuary Project

Click here to view James Reardon's video of oligosama pikitanga, the mountain climber, endemic to the cirque at the head of Sinbad Gully. Southern Discoveries' continued commitment to this project is enabling the work necessary to ensure the best environment for this sleek beauty. Check the project page as well.

June 2013

Kids Restore the Kepler


Ex-Fiordland student Jo Marsh, new KRtK education coordinator

The Fiordland Conservation Trust recently announced the appointment of Jo Marsh to the position of Education Coordinator for the KRtK project.  This follows the resignation of Caroline Carter from the Kids Restore the Kepler role, a role that Caroline's incredibly hard work established and developed.  

Click on the News Summary page for more detail.  You will understand why the Trust is so excited.