Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is Forest & Bird a government department? Is it somehow related to DOC?

We are a totally independent non-government membership-based, environmental organisation. Mainly funded by member subscriptions and donations, we work with a range of government and non-government organisations to achieve the protection of our native species and natural places. We have no direct association with DOC, or any other government agency.

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2. Are you simply a conservation lobby group?

No, we are very much a hands-on environmental group. Right around the country Forest & Bird members work to re-plant, weed, build nest boxes and trap pests. If you would like to help us help nature, click here to learn about becoming a volunteer.

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3. How long has Forest & Bird been around?

Forest & Bird was first set up in 1923. Founder Val Sanderson, concerned by the widespread loss of native forests and birds, began the movement for better protection of these natural treasures, and this led to the establishment of the Native Bird Protection Society, which later became Forest & Bird, and has grown to become the largest independent environmental group in New Zealand. More

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4. I have a bird in my garden that is injured, can Forest & Bird help?

The best people to call for help with injured birds are your local SPCA or Bird Rescue.

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5. What is that bird in my garden?

You can identify birds you have seen by visiting this bird identification website.

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6. Why does Forest & Bird deal with marine issues?

Conservation of native species and environments doesn’t end on land. As the guardians of a marine area that is 15 times its land mass, New Zealanders have a responsibility to protect its natural marine-life. Having successfully fought to have a third of the country protected in public parks and reserves, we recognise the need to also look after our oceans, which remain largely unprotected.

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7. Does Forest & Bird own reserves?

Yes, often reserves are bequeathed to us, and we actively manage reserves throughout New Zealand where native plants and animals are restored and protected. Some have walking tracks and are accessible to the public. More

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8. How can I help?

Glad you asked!  Forest & Bird always needs people on the ground to hep with weed-busting, planting, pest-eradication, making submissions and monitoring species. If you don't have a lot of time, you can simply join or donate to help our work. For more information on our volunteer roles, click here.

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9. Why does Forest & Bird support 1080?

Introduced rats, stoats, deer and possums are ravaging native forests, killing wildlife and destroying the trees. Without effective pest control, our forests will die. This would mean extinction of birds such as kaka, kiwi and kakariki, and the destruction of our forests . Well-managed use of 1080 is the most effective and safe means of protecting our forests and native species from the destruction caused by introduced pests.  Other mehtods such as trapping and bait stations can help, but aerial operations are needed to cover the huge, rugged expanses of our back country.  Without 1080 we run the risk that within 20 years our forests will fall silent.

More information

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10. Is Forest & Bird linked with other organisations around the world?

Yes, we work closely with BirdLife International as its New Zealand partner to protect sea-birds. We are also active in conservation work around the Pacific and are part of international efforts to protect the Antarctic environment, and work with conservation organisations on global environmental issues.

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11. What species does Forest & Bird directly protect?

We are involved in programmes to restore the populations of endangered/threatened species including:

  • Kiwi - Forest & Bird spearheaded the formation of kiwi sanctuaries around the country: five sanctuaries cover 43,000 hectares in Northland, Coromandel, central North Island and Westland. We have also formed a partnership with Trade Me to help this endangered species. More
  • Kakapo - The Kakapo Recovery Programme is a Threatened Species Trust Programme - a partnership between the Department of Conservation, Forest & Bird and Rio Tinto.
  • Hihi – Forest & Bird is actively working to restore hihi (stitchbird) populations with transfers of hihi and protection from predators at its Ark in the Park project in the Waitakere Ranges.
  • Penguins – Forest & Bird’s Places for Penguins project helps restore habitat for little blue penguins in Wellington and Auckland; its Te Rere Reserve in Southland is also a haven for yellow-eyed penguins.
  • Maui’s and Hector’s dolphins – Forest & Bird has successfully achieved greater protection for these threatened dolphins and is calling for a marine mammal sanctuary off the north-west coast of the North Island to further protect Maui’s dolphins.
  • Albatross – Forest & Bird has worked in New Zealand and internationally to improve the use of fishing techniques that reduce deaths of albatrosses and other seabirds as by-catch.
  • Sea lions - Forest & Bird helped push for the creation of a marine mammal sanctuary and marine reserve around the Auckland Islands which is helping protect sea-lions that breed there. We are also calling for better fishing regulation to reduce their deaths as by-catch.
  • Kokako – Forest & Bird is part of the Kokako Recovery Group which has been successful in boosting kokako populations at key sites.

Other achievements

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12. What publications do you produce?

We produce the quarterly Forest and Bird magazine, our Kiwi Conservation Club magazine for children, a bi-annual Best Fish Guide, as well as regular email newsletters.

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13. What do I get if I join Forest & Bird?

You’ll get the chance to take part in a variety of branch activities from hands-on conservation projects such as planting, weed-busting, pest eradication, monitoring of native species, and will have opportunities to take part in educational talks, lectures and guided trips.

On top of this, you’ll receive our quarterly full-colour glossy Forest & Bird magazine, plus the opportunity to stay in our lodges in scenic reserves throughout the country.

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14. What has Forest & Bird achieved in recent years?

Forest & Bird has helped protect New Zealand species and habitats since the society was founded in 1923.  Our recent achievements include:

  • New conservation parks in the South Island high country in Ruataniwha, Molesworth, Ahuriri and the Eyre Mountains; protection secured for lakefront high country.
  • New marine reserves at Wellington’s south coast (Kupe/Kevin Smith Marine Reserve) Taranaki, Whangarei, Bay of Plenty, Kermadec Islands and Nelson .
  • World heritage status for New Zealand’s sub-Antarctic islands and south-west Fiordland.
  • Recognition for the Manuatu Estuary as a wetland of international importance.
  • Protection of lowland rainforest on the West Coast in new national parks and a World Heritage Area.
  • Securing government funding for the establishment of five ‘mainland island’ sanctuaries for kiwi and kokako.
  • Securing new rules to reduce the number of seabirds and sea lions killed by commercial fishing vessels, and legal protection for great white sharks.
  • Bringing stitchbird (hihi) back to the Auckland mainland for the first time in 125 years
  • Partnering with other projects to help save the kiwi, kakapo and blue duck.