Where is Kaharoa?
The Kaharoa Conservation Area is about 30 km by road, north-east of Rotorua City. Access is gained off the end of Kapukapu Road via Kaharoa Road, which runs off the Tauranga Direct Road. Kapukapu Road is unsealed for about 2km at the far end. A carpark and shelter with interpretive panels are located at the end of the road.
About the Kaharoa Conservation Area
The Kaharoa Conservation Area is a rugged piece of Crown land about half way between Rotorua and Te Puke as the crow flies. Covered in native forest, the conservation area is bounded by steep gorges. In pre-European times the area was occupied by Ngati Rangiwewehi and Tapuika with many pa and other important cultural sites remaining in the area.
The Conservation area is home to a remnant population of kōkako, which is protected through the work of the Kaharoa Kōkako Trust. The Trust draws much of its support from the rural community of Kaharoa that surrounds the conservation area.
From 1989-1997 the block was part of a major research project by the Department of Conservation and Landcare Research. This study showed for the first time that predation by possums and ship rats was the main cause of kōkako decline. This breakthrough research provided valuable information that has enabled groups like the Kaharoa Kōkako Trust to protect the birds.
Kaharoa now contributes to the national recovery of kōkako nationwide by providing birds for translocation to other protected areas. To help save kōkako at Kaharoa, contact the Kaharoa Kōkako Trust.
The forest was purchased by the Crown in 1896 and selectively logged during the mid-1900s. It contains a complex of rewarewa (Knightia excelsa) dominated forest, with a mosaic of regenerating kamahi-tawa-tanekaha-podocarp-makomako scrub and forest. The forest is considered to have high botanical values.
Ongoing pest control has not only helped the kōkako at Kaharoa. Vegetation has also noticeably improved, particularly ground cover and low level shrubs. There is also a marked reduction in tree mortality due to possum browse.
The Kaharoa Conservation Area is comprised of three distinct blocks: Kaharoa Forest, Onaia West and Onaia East. The total area under management is 705ha.