Update from our CEO Ana ChristmasWinter 2024

Ana - June 2024

Nau mai, haere mai,

Welcome to our winter newsletter, filled with inspiring and engaging stories. This season, we’re excited to share some remarkable updates and achievements within our community.

After a beautiful evening this weekend, listening for the calls of the precious Kaipara Kiwi at Mataia, the Annual Kiwi Call Count is off to a great start with over 117 calls heard across four sites over two hours. Save the Kiwi estimates suggest a healthy population as one with over 5 calls per hour. The Kaipara Kiwi Team calculated we had 14.6 calls per hour!! A very healthy population indeed! It was heartwarming to see the community come together, with some of our next generation attempting to master the art of silence and contribute to this important event.

In this edition, you’ll find updates on the aspirational plans of Predator Free 2050 and hear from Ahuroa sheep farmers Karyn Maddern and Sue Meszaros. They have been pivotal in rallying the local community to form the Arapārera River Catchment Group. Additionally, we feature an interview with Kathryn from the Leigh Harbour Valley Society (LHVS), a cornerstone in transforming over 190 hectares of Cape Rodney’s landscape. Restore Rodney East also updates us on a new local conservation initiative aimed at making the Mahurangi East peninsula pest-free.

Our very own Fencing and Planting Advisor, Angela Parkin (PhD candidate at Massey University), is conducting research to increase understanding and awareness of the practical implications of implementing native biodiversity management on farms. She would love to hear from you!

We also bring you updates on our Privacy Policy, share tips on managing pesky possums, and give a big shout-out to our dedicated volunteers, especially Robbie – what a legend!

In a time where news often highlights challenges to our international climate commitments and national biodiversity protection, we aim to bring you stories that inspire hope. Balancing this with the need to stimulate economic growth and reduce regulatory burdens within the primary sector can be argued as essential. Through this newsletter, we offer a breath of optimism amidst the complex challenges we face.

Empathy and respect for the diverse views within our community are principles we hold in high regard at The Forest Bridge Trust. By listening to the perspectives of others and understanding the unique challenges landowners face, we strive to find common ground and foster a collaborative spirit.

Over the past four years, our vision to connect people and landscapes with healthy forests and flourishing indigenous wildlife has been uplifted through our Jobs for Nature programme, in collaboration with Save the Kiwi and DOC. This initiative has enabled the creation of a mustelid trapping network protecting kiwi and other taonga species across over 43,000 hectares in the Kaipara ki Mahurangi area. We are on track to reach our 54,000-hectare goal in our final year, with over 800 landowners participating in this project.

Local grassroots action plays a crucial role in the conservation and restoration of critical habitats. By connecting with local people, existing community conservation groups, and networks, we enable this work to grow on a landscape scale. As we transition from the Jobs for Nature funding, we will explore new ways to support each other, focusing on diversifying our income streams to maintain our collective gains.

An example of this is our project partnership with the Sustainable Business Network. In August, we are hosting a field trip to the Mataia Restoration Project as part of the Nature and Business Symposium (Nature and Business Symposium – SBN (sustainable.org.nz)) as we explore and nurture collaboration between businesses, financial organisations, NGOs, tangata whenua, philanthropists, government agencies and local communities.

Matariki is a time for reflecting on our past achievements and setting intentions for the future. It’s a moment to acknowledge our challenges, learnings, successes, and losses, and to turn our attention to the strategic pillars we have set for The Forest Bridge Trust.

Ecosystem Protection & Restoration: Protected, restored, and healthy environments with flourishing native species and biodiversity.

Inspire, Engage & Resource: Holistic relationships between people and the natural world, inspiring consistent actions for environmental health and sustainability.

Partnerships, Collaboration & Resilience: A woven network of diverse partnerships committed to shared environmental goals.

Economic Sustainability: Achieving economic sustainability through ecosystem regeneration, resilience, and practices that support long-term economic growth without negatively impacting social, environmental, and cultural aspects.

Matariki reminds us to look to the stars, guiding our journey with a clear and ever-present vision. As Johnnie Freeland explains in the book, ‘Wayfinding Leadership’, true leaders are navigators who carry the destination within their minds and hearts. At The Forest Bridge Trust, we see landowners, farmers, Iwi/Hapu, and communities as these leaders—embodying the vision of protecting, restoring, and regenerating our environment. We strive to resource each other to take decisive action and actively inspire the next generation to become guardians and kaitiaki of te taiao.

Freeland talks into a whakatauki (proverb) from a kuia (elder) ‘Herea tō waka ki te whetū, kāore ki te titiwai’ – Tie your waka to a star, not a glow worm.

This highlights the importance that together, we can continue to strive for the highest possibilities of our vision.

Ngā mihi nui,
Ana Christmas