Story Ideas and Word Count Summaries
- Rotorua Canopy Tours works in partnership with the Department of Conservation (DOC)
- 180ha of the Dansey Road Scenic Reserve is currently under pest control
- Every visitor contributes to conservation through a portion of their ticket price
- 650 traps are currently working to remove pests from the forest
- Goal: return the forest to pre-human state, total predator control, bird relocation, walking trails, corporate conservation sponsorship
Rotorua Canopy Tours is a great example of a business working in partnership with DOC to achieve significant conservation gains that all New Zealanders and international visitors can be proud of and enjoy.
The virgin native forest environment is what makes the Canopy Tour so unique – Mamaku Forest was chosen as the tour location because it is the closest untouched native reserve, with an incredible ecosystem including 1000 year-old rimu trees and beautiful valleys and ravines which are perfect for ziplining. It was incredible the moment entrepreneur James Fitzgerald first walked in, but he also knew it could be so much more.
He decided to mix tourism and conservation to regenerate the special slice of forest and to take visitors on the journey. Every single visitor contributes through their ticket purchase and some are inspired afterwards with further trap sponsorship and donations. This means everyone is part of the regeneration story and success. As one customer said – it’s an adventure with a brain.
The Department of Conservation (DOC) manages the reserve and provides technical support to the Rotorua Canopy Tours conservation project by assisting with the results monitoring programme. Rotorua Canopy Tours guide Gary Coker is the conservation manager working closely with DOC. He is an arborist and conservation volunteer around the district, constantly trying new traps and methods to rid the world of possums and rats.
The conservation effort began in mid 2013, which was the beginning of a multi phase approach. This involved the preparation of kilometres of trapping lines and the strategic placement of more than 500 humane, instant-kill traps – targeted at possums, rats and stoats. So far, 180ha of the forest is under total predator control.
Phase three was implemented in October 2016.
The programme aims to have the forest pest free with walking trails, corporate sponsorship, bird relocation and many more exciting developments.
The New Zealand native forest is a complex and majestic ecosystem and Rotorua Canopy Tours has the privilege of working inside it which provides the opportunity to observe many of its unique angles. From its diverse fungi to its complex invertebrates, ferns, shrubs, trees, birds – the list for the watchful eye goes on and on.
When Rotorua Canopy Tours first set foot in the forest there were signs that all was not well.
The norm was to arrive and see fresh possum signs all over the place – chewed trees, browsed foliage dropped heedlessly, canopy damage and whenever a flower began to swell and bloom, it was chewed off before it could complete its purpose, and of course large amounts of Possum poo were to be found everywhere!
Usually about once a week Rotorua Canopy Tours would encounter a pile of feathers on the ground where a predator had caught a Bell Bird, Wood Pigeon or some other unlucky bird, leaving only feathers as proof of the crime. Rats were seen in the day time stalking birds and creating an unnaturally quiet environment.
Customers would say “it’s so quiet and peaceful out here” and it really was hard to imagine what our bush must have sounded like all those years ago when birds ruled.
Bringing the forest back to life:
Since Conservation Day – 8th September 2013, Canopy Tours has been working hard to reduce the numbers of pests in the forest. Currently there are 650 automatic self resetting possum, rat, and stoat traps throughout 180ha of the forest. Since then there has been the constant trapping and removal of pests from the forest over the last 3 years there has been a huge improvements in every layer of the ecosystem.
The bumper growth begins:
The canopy of the forest had a bumper growth period over spring and views which were previously spindly tree tops are now a lush magnificent green with masses of healthy foliage. Where once only a few of the rainbow of coloured fungi raised their heads – fields have sprung up. Trees now flower in abundance and the flowers remain unharmed, while delicacies like Rata are now seen and their beauty is noticed, instead of being a possum food source. The Rata seed is able to feed birds and although it has only been a short while, we have had days in the forest where a conversation has had to wait for the cacophony of bird song to subside.
Birds are now regular visitors to our tours and most will get to see rare North Island Robins and if they’re lucky, even a Tomtit! Where once a Wood Pigeon was a pleasant surprise, they have become rowdy regulars, showing off to our clients and filling their stomachs with Tawa, Miro and Rimu berries to their hearts content, safe from predation. The forest has shown a remarkable ability to recover from the years of constant damage and harm caused by introduced species.
If this is what can be achieved in a short period of time, Rotorua Canopy Tours bounces out of bed with the knowledge that we will continue to protect this incredible slice of New Zealand which, day by day is becoming even more special. Every new bird, healthy tree and conservation minded customer reminds us to appreciate just what we have and are striving to achieve.
Everyone loves a cheeky Kiwi and at Rotorua Canopy Tours we get a lot of comments on how the great kiwi guides make the experience.
Our guides are all outdoors professionals with a range of backgrounds, from guides who have rock climbed the highest peaks around the world, to white water kayaking instructors, professional mountain bikers and arborists.
They are all truly passionate about conservation and since they have seen the forest change day by day and year by year, they can share the knowledge with real excitement. The guides are all genuine ‘good sort’ Kiwis who have a chat, laugh and heaps of fun with our customers, taking the adventure experience to a whole new level.
If you want to find out a little bit about our guides, click here to and meet the team!
To interview one of our guides contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Word Count Summaries
Experience the thrill of flying high above untraversed native forest valleys in this three hour zipline adventure.Take in the whole picture of ecology from great heights with classic Kiwi guides who help visitors handfeed wild native birds, while sharing firsthand knowledge of the bird song, flora, fauna and efforts to restore the forest’s magical ecosystem.
Experience the thrill of flying high above untraversed native forest valleys in this three hour zipline adventure. Take in the whole picture of ecology from great heights with classic Kiwi guides who help visitors handfeed wild native birds, while sharing knowledge of the bird song, flora and fauna. With a portion of each ticket invested into conservation, everyone is part of the forest restoration story. Labelled on Trip Advisor as an ‘Adventure activity with a brain,’ this is the number one ranked outdoor experience in New Zealand (November 2016).
Experience the thrill of flying high above untraversed native forest valleys in this three hour zipline adventure. Take in the whole picture of ecology from great heights with classic Kiwi guides who bring knowledge, humour, fun and a whole lot of ‘Kiwiana’ to the adventure, with safety of the utmost importance. The guides help visitors handfeed wild native birds, while sharing knowledge of the bird song, flora and fauna. With a portion of every ticket invested into conservation, everyone is part of the forest restoration story. With three years of conservation and tonnes of pest removed from the Dansey Road Scenic Reserve, 180ha of this forest is now predator free and rowdy birdsong is returning, so keep an eye out for Robins, Kereru, Tomtit, Tui, Bellbirds, Whiteheads, Kaka and Fantails. The dream is to restore the eco-system to the one Captain James Cook discovered on arrival to New Zealand – full of loud bird chorus. On the way traverse a 1.2km network of ziplines, swingbridges, treetop platforms and walking trails, deep in untouched native New Zealand forest. The jaw dropping 220 metre “Tui Song” zipline is the longest, where you step out of a 1000 year old Rimu tree and fly over a long forgotten valley, deep into the forest beyond. Labelled on Trip Advisor as an ‘Adventure activity with a brain,’ this is the number one ranked experience in the North Island of New Zealand.