A trust working to reinvigorate the Aorangi Forest Park and surrounding land has been given a helping hand by the Department of Conservation.

Aorangi Restoration Trust has received a funding boost of $40,000 from DOC's community fund, allowing the appointment of a part-time project manager.

The trust has been working to re-establish the park's native habitats and species.

It also, since its establishment in 2011, has been undertaking predator control work in the southern coastal boundaries of the park.


Bob Burgess has been employed to co-ordinate the trust's projects, which include establishing new trap lines around the northern and western areas of the park. Mr Burgess said the trap lines encircling the park reduced the predator numbers re-entering, following an aerial drop of 1080 poison in 2014.

Aorangi Forest Park "is about 20,000ha", running from south Martinborough down to Cape Palliser.

"The 1080 drop included 13,000ha of that land immediately outside that park and that has reduced pests, particularly possums.

"The large part of the trust is to maintain the gains that the drop has provided and we're doing that through traps."

Mr Burgess said Victoria University was monitoring the impact of 1080 on indigenous species, plants, insects and birds within the park.

"1080 is good for pests like stoats, rats and possums. When you get rid of those, life comes back into the forest. [1080] is designed to reduce predators."

Two more 1080 drops over Aorangi Forest Park were scheduled over the next seven years.

"The drops are to minimise re-invasion of the park by pest animals, particularly along the coastal zone," Mr Burgess said.

"There is a risk that the birds like penguins that live on the coast will get predated by those animals and we're trying to stop this from happening.

"The dropping is to help reinvigorate the population of birds, lizards and other small animals."

He said he was well aware of the criticisms surrounding 1080 use.

Recreational hunters could rest assured the poison had not affected deer in the park, as the 2014 drop included a deer repellent, Mr Burgess said.

His newly-paid role was to ensure restoration programmes were being established and continued. One programme, the "penguin project" had been carried out by schools in the area.

Penguin boxes had been placed around the coast to provide shelter for nesting birds.

A bat recording programme was also introduced, to confirm whether native bats thought to be living in the park were in fact there.

A bird translocation programme is being set up to re-introduce birds to the park that once were, but are no longer, present in the area.

"Kakariki, kaka, weka, lizards; there's all sorts of species we're trying to re-establish," Mr Burgess said.

Aorangi Restoration Trust volunteers include Martinborough Lions, and people from Wellington, Palmerston North and as far away as Marton.

Andy and Chris Corser have been servicing a trap line of about 70 traps, over about 7km, for the past three years.

The couple own a bach at Ngawi, and Mrs Corser's mother, who is in her 80s, is still keen to jump on a quad bike to help out.