The Te Whakakaha Trust are the caretakers of the Otawa Scenic Reserve – 400 hectares of forest at the end of No 3 Road Te Puke. The area was a quarry site from the 1960s to 2009, posing a serious threat to the ecology of the forest. The battle for protection of this land began over two decades ago when a volunteer on a Forest and Bird walk found a rare native Hochstetter’s frog (Leiopelmahochstetteri). After a long struggle the reserve was officially designated a sanctuary area on December 29th 2016.

Since its inception in 2015, the Trust has progressed steadily in its aim to protect and restore the natural ecosystems of what was Stewardship land. Instrumental in the establishment of the area as a Sanctuary, the Trust now supports an active volunteer network in the Otawa Sanctuary and works in conjunction with the Department of Conservation’s (DOC) ‘Battle for Our Birds’ pest control operation across the 400 hectares of  ‘state of the art’ self-resetting Goodnature traps.

The Te Whakakaha Conservation Trust was founded to ensure the long-term survival of the ancient and critically endangered Ōtawa Hochstetters frog species (LeiopelmahochstetteriŌtawa). The Ōtawa Hochstetter’s frog is genetically distinct from other species and its only known habitat is in this former quarry site. In protecting the frogs on Public Conservation Land the Trust has support from DOC, the Bay of Plenty Regional Council, Western Bay of Plenty District Council, Forest and Bird, and local iwi Waitaha and Tapuika.

The restoration of this previously quarried site benefits not only the frog population but other native wildlife as well. The range of native birds inhabiting the area is broad and includes New Zealand falcon (karearea), North Island forest parrot (kaka), bellbird (korimako), and North Island robin (totowai).

As a longer-term direction the Trust is keen to see the Otawa Sanctuary Area as a wildlife corridor and track network that extends from Otanewainuku through Oropi Forest to Otawa Scenic Reserve. Te Whakahaka Trust has a draft Biodiversity Management Plan in preparation with the Bay of Plenty Regional Council which will be incorporated into a strategic plan for the ecological and recreational management of the area.

How to Help
The functions of the volunteers of the Trust include pest control, planting, fundraising, education, managing local recreation and networking on behalf of the environment.

You can also support us by making a donation. Please contact us for bank details to make a direct transfer or for further information about our organisation.

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