Spanning nearly 10,000ha, the Whangārei Heads High Value Area is a landscape with unique landforms and ecological gems, such as Bream Head and Manaia Ridge scenic reserves. The Whangārei Heads has a strong conservation focused community and is naturally rich in in native biodiversity. Many landcare groups, community groups, and other organisations in the Whangārei Heads area are striving to overcome the effects of plant and animal pests in order to maintain and enhance local biodiversity. These groups include, Backyard Kiwi, Whangārei Heads Landcare Forum, Bream Head Conservation Trust, Weed Action Whangārei Heads, Manaia Landcare, Taurikura Ridge Landcare, Reotahi Landcare and several smaller landcare groups.
Ecological values – what are we trying to protect/restore?
Kiwi, bell bird, kaka, fern bird, bittern, kūkupa and pāteke populations are all on the increase and native coastal forest areas are recovering thanks to the effort of the Whangārei Heads community.
Mammalian pests, uncontrolled dogs and invasive weed species threaten the area’s biodiversity.
Progress – what’s being done?
Community-based co-ordinators for kiwi recovery and weeds work have led to effective and efficient progress in increasing native biodiversity values. Kiwi populations are thriving through extensive and long-running community-led pest and dog controls.
Since 2001, the Whangārei Heads Landcare Forum (WHLF) has provided a solid platform for more than 13 landcare groups and other community pest and weed control projects in the area.
Weed Action Whangārei Heads has successfully engaged and enabled the community to act against the spread of invasive weeds.
Backyard Kiwi and the Whangārei Heads Landcare Forum maintain a comprehensive and effective predator trapping network targeting mustelids (ferrets, stoats and weasels) and feral cats in a 10,000ha area. Eighteen years of successful kiwi recovery work has seen the Whangārei Heads kiwi population increase from around 80 kiwi in 2001 to more than 900 in 2018.
The Bream Head Conservation Trust is a community born and bred conservation project with its core focus on the restoration of the highly ranked 800ha ecological reserve known as Bream Head/Te Whara (Bream Head Scenic Reserve) at the very tip of the Whangārei Heads Peninsula.
Support of Northland Regional Council
Backyard Kiwi and Weed Action Whangārei Heads receive significant funding from council through the High Value Area funding programme.
Previously, this work was paid for by a targeted rate set across the Whangārei Heads area in 2015, supporting pest and weed control. It is now funded through the region-wide pest management rate, as with the other high value pest control areas.
A newly proposed project, Whangārei Predator Free, aims to demonstrate that possums can be completely removed from a landscape scale project area of approximately 9,000ha across the Whangārei Heads peninsula. This project is currently being developed.