Rotoehu Ecological Trust currently manages around 670 hectares of native bush in Rotoehu Forest, located around 30 minutes North East of Rotorua on Rotoehu Road. While Rotoehu Forest comprises of some 3,500 hectares, the Trust manages land in Pongakawa Ecological Area and the newly established Otari Block.
Rotoehu Forest has sites of significance for Ngati Makino, Ngati Pikiao, Ngati Awa & Tuwharetoa ki Bay of Plenty. Ngati Makino have an active role in supporting the work of DOC in relation to kokako recovery.
The latest kokako census report for Rotoehu Forest can be downloaded here
|Block||Area (ha)||km of track||Bait stations||Traps||Kokako|
Pongakawa Ecological Area
Pongakawa Ecological Area (PEA) is an Ecological Reserve of public conservation land managed by the Rotorua DOC Office. Originally subject to native logging back in the 1940-1970’s, Te Puke Forest and Bird were instrumental in getting the area set aside for conservation purposes after North Island Kokako were found to live there. PEA is divided into three main areas: the Main Block (439 ha) protected in 1990, Block 2a (168 ha) protected in 2008 and Block 2b (261 ha). Block 2b has recently been added to our management area with the first ground based pest control operation to be undertaken in Spring 2021.
Pongakawa Ecological Area forms part of the wider Rotoehu Forest, which connects almost all the way to the Manawahe kokako population. Because of the historic native logging, many of the larger trees are missing from the canopy, and the understory is more scarce due to browsing by deer, wallabies, pigs, rabbits and possums. PEA is surrounded by farmland and plantation forest, with the whole area being subject to spasmodic pest control once protection was established. Volunteers work to keep the track network open for ground control pest operations in order to protect that 130 odd kokako who call this patch of bush home.
The Otari Block was added to the Trust’s management area in late 2015 after a walk through survey showed that there were kokako in the block. It is situated adjacent to the main part of Pongakawa Ecological Area in the North East, and is home to around 20 kokako. Otari is a relatively intact piece of lowland forest, that does not appear to be logged and has a good understory. RET believes that this is due to the terrain of the block – essentially a valley system, with another lower ridge running down the middle. At the present time the Trust’s trapping network is providing protection to the native species in the block
Rotoehu Forest West
This block was added in 2018 so extend as far West as we possibly can on DOC land. To the west of this block is Plantation forest and a large tract of native under Nga Whenua Rahui kawenata.