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About Maungataniwha Native Forest

Maungataniwha Native Forest comprises 6,120 hectares of native forest straddling the ridge system between the Te Hoe and Waiau Rivers in northern Hawkes Bay. It is bordered to the north by Te Urewera National Park and to the west by the Whirinaki Conservation Forest, both part of an extensive area of native forest which is publicly-owned land administered by the Department of Conservation. Its southern neighbour is the Maungataniwha Pine Forest.














The area is of national importance geologically as the site where palaeontologist Joan Wiffen first discovered evidence of land-dinosaur fossils in New Zealand. These fossil remains were extracted from cretaceous rock taken from the Mangahouanga Stream, which has the bulk of its catchment within this forest. The block also has a long history of logging, although Simon Hall retired this property from logging when he purchased it in 2005.

To date Maungataniwha remains unsurveyed for rare native species, and only partially surveyed for kiwi. Nevertheless, Long-Tailed and Short-Tailed Bats, kaka, kereru, Bush Falcon, and Forest Gecko have been recorded via casual observation in recent years.

The ecological significance of Maungataniwha is probably yet to be fully recognised, but indications are that the kiwi population is of regional significance. In 2005 trust members discovered a remnant kiwi population, unusual as the property had no history of pest control. Pete Shaw consulted with Dr John McLennan, a leading kiwi scientist, and what eventuated was the Maungataniwha Kiwi Project.

A survey conducted in 2012 in the catchment areas of the Waiau and Te Hoe rivers, bordering the Maungataniwha Native Forest, found 19 breeding pairs of whio along 41km of waterway. It also found 13 single ducks and 29 juveniles along the same stretches of water.
This population density is immensely encouraging and resulted in the area being classified a whio ‘Recovery Site’ by the Department of Conservation’s Whio Recovery Group (WRG).

Pest control
The Maungataniwha Native Forest is occasionally treated with aerial applications of 1080 poison. As well as reducing possum numbers and helping to prevent the spread of bovine tuberculosis into the Te Urewera Ranges and, subsequently, the Bay of Plenty region, this kills other predators and assists our drive to establish the forest as a secure breeding site for kiwi and whio.

1080 appears to have no impact on the breeding capabilities of the kiwi we monitor as part of the Maungataniwha Kiwi Project.
Possum trapping in the forest began in August 2007.

We spray gorse on an ongoing basis and also target pampas and buddleia.

Intensive Restoration
In winter 2009, work began on the establishment of a sanctuary within the Maungataniwha Native Forest. The main purpose was to reduce the number of predators to provide a safe place for a variety of native bird species over their breeding period. An area of approximately 600 hectares was enclosed.

Mustelid control is achieved through a mix of DOC 250 and Fenn trap sets. These are proving effective at protecting the adult breeding kiwi we monitor as part of the Maungataniwha Kiwi Project.

Small mammal monitoring indicates that a mix of trapping and aerial 1080 applications have been highly effective in reducing rat numbers.

Kakabeak project
Before our efforts to re-establish this plant started yielding results there were only 109 plants known to be growing in the wild across the whole of New Zealand. They currently hold the highest possible threatened plant ranking: ‘Nationally Critical’.

In October 2008 Willie Shaw, a botanist, attempted to relocate the Kakabeak he had found some 25 years previously in the Urewera National Park. After a short search the original plant was found, along with another within six metres. Another search in November 2008 found a further two plants on the Waiau Cliffs. Following this we established our Kakabeak restoration project and obtained a permit to collect seed.

Mistletoe survey
Before 2008 there had been no recorded sightings of mistletoe in the Maungataniwha Native Forest. In January that year, though, two scarlet mistletoe (Peraxilla colensoi) plants were found. This is ranked as a species in ‘Gradual Decline’.

Red mistletoe (Peraxilla tetrapetala) has also been seen. Recent and on-going possum control will assist greatly with the re-establishment of mistletoe in this area.

Both species appear to be benefitting from possum control, with an increase in the number of plants recorded on the property. 

Wood Rose
Wood Rose (Dactylanthus taylorii) is a native wood parasite. It was first discovered at Maungataniwha by Simon Hall, Lance Dew and Pete Shaw in February 2006, when two plants were found. Subsequent searching has revealed additional plants, some of which have been caged to protect them from possums.

In September 2008 we investigated a cliff site at the head of the Mangahouanga Stream. An investigation by Trustee John McLennan confirmed that the site had been used for human habitation, with a number of old fire sites identified.

In February 2009 the remains of a wooden structure, believed to have been a storehouse used by Maori living in the area, were discovered within the Te Urewera National Park. The discoveries add to the belief that the Maungataniwha area was once an important place for Maori.
A broken stone adze and two previously-unrecorded habitation sites have since been located.

Forest Lifeforce Restoration Trust


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