Te Manahuna Aoraki release birds
Image: Te Manahuna Aoraki | ©


Te Manahuna Aoraki Project is a large-scale conservation partnership focused on protecting and revitalising a vast mainland island in the Upper Mackenzie Basin and Aoraki Mount Cook National Park so native animals and plants can thrive.


Biodiversity will be enhanced across 310,000 hectares of both public and private land including braided river systems, dryland tussock and alpine habitats. These rare eco-systems are home to more threatened species than anywhere else in New Zealand.

The project aims to secure a safe habitat for endangered species ranging from kea and tuke/rock wren in the alpine zone to braided river species such as ngutu pare/wrybill, kaki/black stilt and tūturiwhatu/banded dotterel. Many other species including robust grasshoppers, skinks and scree weta, the yellow alpine buttercup, New Zealand mousetail and cypress hebe will benefit from this work.

The Department of Conservation founded the project together with NEXT Foundation, Te Rūnaka o Arowhenua, Te Rūnaka o Moeraki, and Te Rūnaka o Waihao. Te Manahuna Aoraki Project is also partnering with high country landowners, Toitū Te Whenua Land Information New Zealand, Aotearoa Foundation, Jasmine Social Investments, Re:Wild, Ministry of Defence and Predator Free 2050 Ltd.

Te Manahuna Aoraki Project was launched in 2018 and is currently in a development phase. As well as making conservation gains, it is building connections, asking questions, and developing innovative techniques. This work is helping develop a 20-year-plan to protect the unique species, landscapes, and eco-systems across the whole 310,000 hectare project area.

Visit the Te Manahuna Aoraki Project website to sign up for the Te Manahuna Aoraki newsletter.

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