Predator Free Hauraki Coromandel's Field Support Team - (L-R) Aaron Pulford- Team Leader, Renee Denby - Cadet, Jamie Seigmeier - Cadet, Hannah Power - Intern. Image: Dave FitzGerald.

Conservation is a never-ending battle, a cause to which many New Zealanders dedicate themselves because they are determined to save our natural environment and unique native species.

However, while there is no shortage of willing and able workers, there is never enough money to pay for the planning and equipment needed to take up all the free labour being offered.

Which is why three different philanthropic investment funds focused on supporting conservation work have been established at Momentum Waikato over the last couple of years. Donations to these funds help grow ongoing income that enables activities such as predator and weed control.

These three funds have different but overlapping priorities and geographical footprints.

The Fund for Nature Hauraki-Coromandel was set up by the Predator Free Hauraki Coromandel Community Trust, the umbrella group for the two districts’ 100+ conservation groups. Their current projects include expanding kiwi protection, trap building and training workshops, backed up by a small paid field support team.

Trust Chief Executive Jude Hooson says that while they receive funding from various agencies, it doesn’t cover everything and is year-by-year. Their Fund therefore provides an easy way for the public to donate towards a sustainable and growing income stream for their conservation work across Coromandel and Hauraki.

The Waikato Catchment Ecological Enhancement Fund was set up the Waikato Catchment Ecological Enhancement Trust, which is a collaboration between Mercury Power and the conservation entities, including Fish and Game NZ, Forest and Bird and DOC, who submitted on the re-consenting process for the company’s Waikato River dams some twenty-plus years ago.

Trust Chair Gwyn Verkerk says their grants supply plants and pest control kit for conservation work across the Waikato River catchment, including assistance that kick-starts volunteer efforts and enables conservation-adjacent groups to get involved.

For instance, they funded equipment for the Taupo Mountain Bike Club to control wilding pines, and for the Howick Tramping Club to deploy predator poison during their visits to Pureora forest.

The Waikato Hauraki Conservation Fund was started by an initial founding donation from Selwyn and Dianne June, who lead volunteer work on Mount Pirongia, and offers grants to groups across the whole region.

Selwyn and Dianne say volunteers have to feel safe, valued and supported when they go into rugged bush. And that there’s a social aspect to volunteering - if its enjoyable they’ll come back and bring their friends.

As such, this Fund is a ‘gap filler’ funder for those things that volunteers need that are not usually covered by funding agencies, to remove the barriers to volunteering.    

To find out more and to donate, click the relevant link at the Fund titles above or visit Our Funds page and then click the relevant Fund listing.