Taiea te Taiao Ecological corridor update

Taiea te Taiao Ecological corridor update

Taiea te Taiao/Ecological corridor aims to connect Maungatautari and Pirongia te aroaro o Kahu via ecological stepping stones along the Mangapiko awa/stream, the Ngāparierua stream and other waterways. Taiea te Taiao staff are funded by the Freshwater Improvement Fund, administered by the Ministry for the Environment.

A monitoring plan is now underway incorporating western science and Mātauranga Māori to gather data for populations of Pekapeka/long-tailed bats and tuna/Longfin eel within the corridor. These results will set baselines for possible ecological habitats to be enhanced.

The project has also helped launch Predator Free Te Awamutu, a community-led group aiming to have a trap in one in five backyards in the area. The community turnout at the recent launch party was heartening; many signed up to volunteer, with over 60 traps sold on the night. We look forward to seeing the results on Trap.NZ soon.

EDNA kits (funded by the Environmental Protection Authority) via Wai Tuwhera o te Taiao programme will assist in gathering valuable data about the Mangapiko Stream. DOC's Jobs for Nature funding will restore the Mātakitaki pā site in Pirongia, with 25,000 plants in the ground and predator control underway. Further work will include weed control for site preparation, as the banks of the Mangapiko are incredibly weedy, with convolvulus (field bindweed), wandering jew (Tradescantia fluminensis), blackberry, and barberry, and maintenance of planting.

In the project's first year, 103,000 plants have been planted by project partners: Waikato Regional Council, DOC Jobs for Nature, Trees for Survival, local schools and private landowners. We continue to seek funding for works on the ground to meet the goals of our newly developed Corridor Plan. This includes planting and maintaining 200,000 trees in the corridor by June 2026 and cultural site recognition in the form of Pou/monuments. These will engage the community with pre and post-European settlement and Tangata Whenua histories.

The project is working with well-established and very experienced project partners, and landowners who contribute cash, in-kind support, and expertise to complement the "on-ground" work to ensure the Corridor Plan objectives are achieved. The project team would like to thank every individual or organisation that has contributed to the exceptional progress in the corridor. The environmental benefits will serve generations to come.