Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage has announced plans for a 310,000ha predator-free "mainland island" in the centre of the South Island.
The area, called the Manahuna Aoraki, lies between Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park, and the upper drylands of the Mackenzie Basin.
The Government is partnering with a number of different organisations to fund the $4.5 million project, which will be completed in three years.
Of that, the Department of Conservation (DOC) will be contributing a third, the NEXT Foundation will contribute $1.5m and various other groups will stump up the rest.
Sage said the project was "huge and ambitious", adding that "predator control on this scale has not been done before in Aotearoa".
"Te Manahuna Aoraki will help to preserve and protect the habitats of 23 threatened species including wrybill/ngutuparore, robust grasshoppers, kea and the world's rarest wading bird, the kakī/black stilt," Sage said.
The predator-free "island" will take advantage of the area's natural barriers such as 3000m-high mountain peaks, ridgelines and waterways.
Sage said this would prevent or reduce re-invasion of predators like rats, possums and stoats, while protecting species such as the kakī.
"For the kakī population to thrive, it needs its braided river habitat to be healthy and riverbeds to be clear of introduced weeds and protected from introduced predators."
Sage said Department of Conservation (DoC) biodiversity ranger Scott Theobald played an important role in the Te Manahuna Aoraki restoration project before he was tragically killed in a recent helicopter crash in Wanaka, along with his colleague Paul Hondelink and their pilot Nick Wallis.
"All three men were committed to conservation and were pioneers in their fields."
The Government will be partnering with a number of different organisations to fund the project.
These include DoC, NEXT Foundation, Te Rūnanga o Arowhenua, Te Rūnanga o Waihao and Te Rūnanga o Moeraki.
They are joined by high-country landholders and investors Aotearoa Foundation, Jasmine Social Investments, Global Wildlife Conservation (GWC) and Predator Free 2050 Ltd.