Colin Jackson of the Kakapuku Mountain Conservation Project checks rat traps.

A ‘gap-filler’ conservation fund established at Momentum Waikato by a local philanthropic couple has made its first round of grants towards predator control and restoration planting projects across the region.

The Waikato Hauraki Conservation Fund was kickstarted by a significant donation by Dianne and Selwyn June in 2021, and then boosted by a donation from the estate of the late John and Bunny Mortimer, who established the Taitua Arboretum.

The Fund welcomes public donations that will grow the ongoing investment income it uses to support conservation work by voluntary groups and landowners.

As reported last August, the Junes are stalwarts of the Pirongia Te Aroaro o Kahu Restoration Society, where their experience of funding shortfalls led them to set up this philanthropic fund targeted at “filling gaps” in conservation funding.

“From what we’ve seen, it is the small things that need reliable funding. For instance, they might need to buy some bait stations, perhaps send some attendees on a first aid course, or buy safety gear” says Dianne.

“The practical purpose of this Waikato Hauraki Conservation Fund is to remove the barriers a group may face in carrying out a conservation activity.”

The successful applicants, and their responses to receiving a grant from the Waikato Hauraki Conservation Fund, were as follows.

Holthuizer Farm near Morrinsville, for riparian planting. “Thank you so much for the $1000 grant - this makes a huge difference to our planting project. It is the vision of people like the Junes who inspire and help motivate the next generations and we are so excited and grateful to be recipients. Kind regards, Dale.”

Kaitiakitanga Charitable Trust, who work with engaging youth on pest control and riparian planting projects. “Every contribution helps us work towards independent sustainability in these tough times. I know Diane and Selwyn, our team members’ participation in their Okahukura Kokako project was instrumental in us starting the large trap buffer area of farms in the northern Pureora. We just laid 40 traps in a valley where we saw a whio. Sixty more traps are due to be placed in the vicinity within a month. Ngā mihi, Murray.”

Kakepuku Mountain Conservation Society, for trap refills and bait. “We are thrilled to have received funding from the Waikato Hauraki Conservation Fund for our project. Congratulations on the successful launch of the Fund. Regards, Brian.”

Rings Beach Wetland Group, for possum, mustelid and rat traps. “Thank you very much for this grant. Kind regards, Dave.”

Roselle Gould and David Beatty from Whangamata, for predator traps near a stream and wetland. “$1000 will make a big difference!”

The Junes were joined by local conservation experts in making the grant-making decisions. For this first round they had $5200 available, for which they received 11 applications collectively requesting $31,485.

“I feel this is a very good response given the newness of the Fund, and demonstrates the need for supporting small-scale conservation initiatives,” says Selwyn.

The criteria used in choosing which projects to support included meeting the application guidelines and providing all the requested information; the intention to use voluntary labour and ideally attract community involvement; and a lower likelihood of other funding being available in that area.

The next grant round by the Waikato Hauraki Conservation Fund is provisionally scheduled to open next October, and will be advertised via conservation channels. 

Donations to the Waikato Hauraki Conservation Fund can be made via

If you are interested in making a significant donation or can offer an expert contribution to the Fund’s activities, please contact