What is Poutiri Ao ō Tāne?

Poutiri Ao ō Tāne is a collaborative ecological and social restoration project located at the Maungaharuru-Tutira catchment, 60km north of Napier with Boundary Stream Mainland at its heart.  Aimed at bringing native flora and fauna back into the lives of the local people by embracing the knowledge of a wide range of partners.  The project plans to see the return of native species that have been lost to the area over time – and to see these species flourish, not only in the habitats we expect them to be in such as native bush, but also within the agriculture and forestry landscape.

Innovative management and research were the founding components of this project, with the aim for it to act as the blueprint for more ambitious projects in the future. The learnings and outcomes of Poutiri Ao ō Tāne have influenced the Hawke’s Bay Regional Biodiversity Strategy and as a result of that, the formation of the sister project ‘Cape to City’ www.capetocity.co.nz .

Project partners – the Department of Conservation, Aotearoa Foundation, the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, Maungaharuru Tangitū Trust, Ngati Pahauwera, Ngati Hineuru, Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research and various landowners and businesses in the area have developed and implemented a large-scale ecological and to some degree social restoration programme. A project of this scale was a first for New Zealand, due to the level of collaboration between organisations, agencies, businesses and communities. Strong partnerships have been established and the model is working well, particularly in the Cape to City project.

Previously the Maungaharuru-Tutira area consisted of reserves surrounded by farms and forestry plantations with site specific conservation management. Under Poutiri Ao ō Tāne conservation management in the area is now catchment focussed. The effectiveness of the pest control and the species reintroductions have set an example to the rest of Aotearoa/New Zealand regarding achieving conservation across a larger landscape, with mixed uses and a variety of vegetation.

To achieve this vision Poutiri Ao ō Tāne established six work streams: habitat restoration, animal pest control, species reintroductions, research, education, and community engagement. To find out more explore the links below.

Where is Poutiri Ao ō Tāne?

The Maungaharuru-Tutira catchment, 60km north of Napier, is the focus of the project. The rich range of indigenous ecosystems that once dominated this landscape have been greatly reduced and fragmented. However, nationally significant ecosystem and species populations remain, providing the region with a very good foundation on which to build the Poutiri Ao ō Tāne project.


What are the workstreams?

The project is comprised of six complementary workstreams (give one a click to find out more):

These workstreams will improve ecosystems and restore native biodiversity to the production landscape, providing landowners and local communities with direct social and economic benefits. The workstreams will also offer a model of sustainable, conservation-friendly production to other communities, both nationally and internationally.

What are the benefits?

By breaking the dichotomy between absolutely protected upland areas and absolutely exploited lowland areas the Poutiri Ao ō Tāne project will provide a model for integrated landscape scale ecological restoration that could be applied across New Zealand and internationally. Learning and methodologies developed in this project will provide tools to transform our approach to managing partially intact ecological fragments within a larger production landscape, providing national benefits in forging the next steps in conservation management.

Improved ecology

This ecological restoration programme proposed for the Maungaharuru-Tutira catchment will generate significant ecological benefits for Hawke’s Bay. Providing wide scale pest control, ecological corridors and fenced habitats will facilitate the dispersal of species beyond intensively managed sites such as the ones at Boundary Stream, Opouahi, Lake Tutira and the Te Matau a Maui, and into the wider Hawke’s Bay environment.

The Poutiri Ao ō Tāne project’s work in the Maungaharuru-Tutira catchment will facilitate social and cultural well-being by providing enhanced ecosystems health, along with recreational and educational opportunities for a wide range of people. Healthier ecosystems and waterways will provide access to traditional sources of food and medicine, strengthening Māori ties to the land. A flourishing environment will be a source of pride and mana for Hawke’s Bay’s people, and will provide inspiration for other communities around the country, and beyond.

The reintroduction of locally extinct seabird species will restore vanished ecosystem processes such as the importation of marine nutrients to inland forests. Habitat restoration will enhance the quality and spatial extent of the native habitat and restore linkages between isolated ecosystem fragments. Increased vegetative cover and restoration of wetlands will reduce inflows of sediments and nutrients into waterways, improving water quality and enhancing the health of freshwater ecosystems.

Good for business

New Zealand’s ‘clean green image’ has been identified as one of the key branding components that will enable New Zealand’s economy to remain competitive in the global context. Poutiri Ao ō Tāne’s landscape restoration programme will allow local landowners to gain competitive advantage in niche marketplaces and contribute towards maintaining a robust ‘100% Pure’ New Zealand brand.

The local economy will benefit significantly through direct employment in the delivery of ecological restoration and research programmes, and through business development such as eco-tourism, the medicinal plant industry, and various iwi aspirations.

Wide scale control of goats, possums and rabbits on agricultural and farm production land by the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council and private landowners have been incorporated into the programme, reducing the impact these pests have on farmers’ bottom-lines. Retirement and afforestation of marginal land will also allow access to markets for carbon sequestration, providing additional business opportunities.

Who’s involved in the project?

Led by DOC, the key partner organisations involved in the Poutiri project are: the Aotearoa Foundation, Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, Landcare Research, ECOED, Landcorp, Maungaharuru Tangitu Inc, Ngati Pahauwera, Ngati Hineuru, Tutira Maungaharuru Vision Group, Te Matau a Maui (Cape Sanctuary), and the local conservation community.

Find out more about the Poutiri partners

Existing collaborative restoration programmes at Boundary Stream, Opouahi, Lake Tutira and Te Matau a Maui (Cape Sanctuary) will form the core of this proposed restoration project, providing a source of vulnerable native species, which will ultimately spill over into the broader landscape of Hawke’s Bay.

Each of Poutiri’s partner organisations have agreed in principle to contribute support with the inclusion of the Aotearoa Foundation as a project sponsor providing additional resources and security of funding for the full term of the project.

Why conservation?

The way we were

The islands of Aotearoa New Zealand, isolated from the rest of the world for millions of years, evolved with a unique assemblage of plants and animals. They flourished in this seclusion. The arrival of Māori, then Europeans, lead to the decline and extinction of many species and ecosystems. Large tracts of native forest were cleared, wetlands drained and ecosystems were modified as land was converted for agriculture, horticulture and forestry.

Where we are today

Approximately one-third of New Zealand’s land is legally protected but in many cases the impacts of pests are still causing declines in native species. Furthermore, the protected areas are mostly represented by remote, hilly areas inhospitable to production. The remaining two-thirds of New Zealand’s landscape, including the areas in which the majority of the population live, are now heavily dominated by agriculture and forestry.

New Zealand has a long and enviable history of protecting and restoring wildlife on offshore islands. More easily protected they have been the focus of much learning. During the mid 1990s it was decided to transfer the advances made and lessons learnt to our six ‘Mainland Islands’. Today the emphasis is on collaboration and realising conservation over rural mainland New Zealand.

Looking into our future

To allow our species and ecosystems to flourish, we need to do more. There is a need for communities, iwi, business and government to work together to protect our unique heritage. There will be a shift away from preserving our wildlife in ‘conservation zoos’ – uninhabited and isolated forests and islands. Instead, large-scale protection will happen in ‘our backyards’. This has never been attempted at this scale in New Zealand and the Poutiri project is about working together to develop the tools needed. The future is bright. Now let’s get on with it!

Contact Us

If you’d like to know more about Poutiri we’d love to hear from you!

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