The Kaimai Connection project aims to restore birdsong and native wildlife by creating a "connection of protection" that joins the Tauranga harbour in the east to the Waihou River in the west.
It aims to link the Te Puna and Aongatete catchments in the Bay of Plenty across the Kaimai Mamaku Forest Park to the Middle Waihou catchment in the Waikato.
Map 1 – Kaimai Connection Area - Te Puna, Aongatete and Middle Waihou catchments.
Existing conservation initiatives within the Kaimai Connection include:
• Aongatete Forest Restoration Project
• Friends of Puketoki.
• Gardens for Wildlife
• Land for Wildlife
• Motuhoa Island Coastcare
• Nga Tahatai o Te Puna Care Group.
• Omokoroa Environmental Managers Inc
• Omokoroa Estuaries Restoration Group.
• Pest Free Omokoroa
• Pirirakau Pa restoration and erosion control on coastal cliffs.
• QEII covenants.
• Te Puna Quarry Park.
• Te Puna Estuary Managers
• Upper Waikaraka Streamcare Group.
• Various BOPRC biodiversity management plans.
• Waikaraka Estuary Managers
• Waione Stream Care.
• Western BOPDC covenants.
• Whakamarama Community Inc - Patirawa Stream restoration.
The Kaimai Connection Project aims to restore degraded native habitats and boost populations of species such as robin, tomtit, whitehead, kaka and riflemen.
Initial discussions are underway to reintroduce weka to the Aongatete Forest, and it is hoped that birds such as kiwi and kakariki will be introduced over time.
Remnant populations of forest gecko, forest ringlet (Helm’s) butterfly will also be protected, as will populations of kokopu and eel in streams and wetland areas.