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Ed Sheeran

Kawenata protects Taupo mountain block
Owhaoko Trust

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A central North Island hapū has signed a kawenata with the Department of Conservation and Ngā Whenua Rāhui to protect an area of significant biodiversity.

Owhaoko A East and A1B (Owhaoko A) Trusts own almost 7000 hectares of mountainous land located between the Kaimanawa and Kāweka Forests.

Chair Arapiu Seymour says the type of activities the trust plans to undertake with Ngā Whenua Rāhui - such as pest trapping, track management, and protection of rare species - have always been part of its long-term planning, but the kawenata will enable it to do it quicker, and on a much larger scale.

The collaboration ensures improved management of the land so it will remain a pristine, untouched part of New Zealand so native species can flourish.

Owhaoko Trust general manager Doug Gartner says the kawenata has increased employment opportunities for whānau in track building, looking after plants, and multi-pest management not just on Owhaoko but on other land under the control of DOC or Ngā Whenua Rāhui.

Since regaining control of its whenua in the 1990s, the trust has taken a number of innovative steps to preserve the land and benefit future generations, including producing pure manuka honey under the Owhaoko name and offering up-market cabin accommodation only accessible by helicopter.

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