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Alive at Aongatete

Aongatete Forest Project is volunteer group that manages 500 hectares of native forest in the Kaimai Mamaku Conservation Park, between Tauranga and Katikati.

The Trust was established in 2006 by the Forest and Bird Tauranga branch and the Katikati Rotary Club. Today, it is managed by a board of trustees (the Aongatete Forest Restoration Trust) and is supported by many volunteers and Ngai Tamawhariua who have the kaitiaki (guardianship) role over this forest.

Forest-based operations

To date, 65km of bait lines have been cut into the bush, with a little over 1,000 bait stations attached to trees. A ring of DOC 200 stoat traps encircle the perimeter, and A24 self-resetting traps feature in specific, harder to reach locations. A dense network of Timms traps for possums can be found inside the Short Loop.

The work required to keep the pest control network active and effective is very hands on and includes:

  • Adding and removing baits in the bait stations
  • Checking and removing carcasses from the traps
  • Regular monitoring for rodents using tracking tunnels
  • Maintaining the access to each bait line (clearing tree fall, marking trails)
  • Repairing the assets themselves installed in the forest

Support and administration

Volunteers are instrumental in everything from preparing baits for placement in the forest, to managing the email inbox and social media, to providing batches of homemade goodies for morning teas.

Things that require people resource (that aren’t specifically hand-on pest control) include:

  • Managing special projects
  • Producing reports and applying for funding
  • Training new volunteers
  • Taking photos and filming video
  • Collecting and collating data
  • Organising & manning events (Breakfast with the Birds, Conservation Week, local A&P shows etc)
  • Liaison with schools, neighbors, iwi, hunters and other community groups (e.g. Rotary, Lions, Katch Katikati, Men’s Shed).


AFP works closely with the Aongatete Outdoor Education Centre, where many schools as well as private and corporate groups use the accommodation and facilities.

They're also a key collaborator in the hands-on Nature Education Program offered by Bay Conservation Alliance, delivering conservation education to school children in the Tauranga area.

Some of AFP's highly experienced volunteers are very interesting and passionate guest speakers at local clubs and groups, and also host bespoke guided walks at the Project.

Special events are another way of sharing what is ‘alive at Aongatete’, and the Project runs regular Night Walks in the bush and the hugely popular annual Breakfast with the Birds event.

Join an event!

Click through to AFP's website to find what's coming up.