Biodiversity Partnerships Programme

Our Biodiversity Partnerships Programme aims to 'empower communities to reconnect with and improve biodiversity.' The programme has three elements:


Icon projects

Te Āpiti – Manawatū Gorge

Te Āpiti – Manawatū Gorge is a magnificent geographical structure formed over thousands of years by the Manawatū River. The Te Āpiti – Manawatū Gorge project focuses on four key pillars; biodiversity, recreation, education and culture.

The project aims to restore native plants and animals and maintain and enhance biodiversity. It's proudly supported by the following organisations and groups:


  • Horizons Regional Council
  • Department of Conservation
  • Palmerston North City Council
  • Manawatū District Council
  • Tararua District Council
  • Waka Kotahi – New Zealand Transport Agency
  • KiwiRail
  • Rangitaane Iwi
  • Local landowners

For more information, visit the Te Āpiti – Manawatū Gorge website.

Kia Whārite

The Kia Whārite project, established in 2008, aims to restore biodiversity balance across 180,000ha of public (managed by the Department of Conservation) and private land. This land includes parts of the Whanganui National Park, the second largest lowland forest in the North Island. 

The remote area is home to the largest population of North Island Brown Kiwi and many other native plant and animal species.

Pūkaha Mt Bruce

The Pūkaha Mount Bruce forest restoration project commenced in April 2001. The project aims to restore the area of remnant indigenous forest next to the Mount Bruce National Wildlife Centre.

Alongside Greater Wellington Regional Council, we manage an extended 'buffer zone' of pest control around the reserve boundaries to assist in the restoration work. This buffer zone significantly lowers the risk of pest species reinvading Pūkaha Mount Bruce and plays an essential part in the restoration process.

The Pūkaha Restoration Project is managed by the Department of Conservation, under contract to the Pūkaha Mount Bruce Board.

For more information, visit the Pūkaha National Wildlife Centre website.

Bushy Park Tarapuruhi

Bushy Park Tarapuruhi is a Forest & Bird Project. Due to its survival and lack of large-scale modification, this 89ha Forest Sanctuary is a rare example of North Island temperate lowland forest. As a result, the sanctuary has considerable structural complexity and diversity, with around 160 plant species calling it home.

In 2005 a pest exclusion fence was installed, and all pest mammals except mice were removed from the sanctuary. The lack of mammalian predators and competitors, and the diverse forest, provide a suitable habitat for many native species.

For more information, visit the Bushy Park Tarapuruhi website.

Manawatū Estuary

The Manawatū River Estuary, at the mouth of the Manawatū River near Foxton, is the largest in the lower North Island of New Zealand. The estuary is an important site in the lifecycle of many indigenous and migratory bird and fish species and is a significant recreational resource.

In recognition of the site's ecological importance, it was declared a Wetland of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention in July 2005, one of only six in New Zealand. This remarkable achievement was possible because of the efforts of Forest and Bird, supported by the Manawatū Estuary Trust.

Targeted rate projects

Rangitīkei Environment Group

Rangitīkei residents pay a targeted rate to Horizons for the control of Old Man's Beard in their district. The Rangitīkei Environment Group carries out this control work. 

The group was founded in 2001, and its primary goal is to address the infestation of Old Man's Beard in the Rangitīkei area.

Waitārere Beach Community Project

The Waitārere Beach community pays a targeted rate to Horizons to control exotic plants and restore native plants on the dunes. This programme has focused on environmental restoration in areas along the dunes, residential beach frontage, and the banks of the Wairarawa Stream from the beach upstream to Wairarawa Lagoon. 

Kanorau Koiora Taketake – Indigenous Biodiversity Community Grant

The Kanorau Koiora Taketake – Indigenous Biodiversity Community Grant is a contestable fund for community-led projects. The grant aims to restore and protect indigenous biodiversity and support connections between nature and people. These connections include projects that support the regeneration and continuation of mātauranga Māori.

Grant applications are sought annually from community-led projects led by private landowners, individuals, Māori land trusts, not-for-profit organisations, umbrella groups and whānau/hapū/Iwi.

Find out more about the Kanorau Koiora Taketake – Indigenous Biodiversity Community Grant and previous grantees.