The Puketi Forest is an ancient kauri forest located in the heart of Northland, and is one of the largest contiguous tracts of native forest in Northland.
Within its 15,000 hectares (37,000 acres) are magnificent stands of kauri, podocarp and hardwood trees, and a rich ecological diversity including 370 recorded species of plants, some of which are found nowhere else in the world.
The forest once home to many different native birds, but these have been greatly reduced by introduced pests, such as stoats, weasels, ferrets and feral cats. Unique species such as New Zealand robin, rifleman, kaka and red- and yellow-crowned parakeets have all gone as a result. The remaining North Island kiwi, kukupa (New Zealand pigeon) and pied tit are much reduced and also face local extinction without our help.
Before humans arrived, New Zealand's only land mammals were two species of bats, and small numbers of these are still here in Puketi.
IThe forest is now protected by the government Department of Conservation (DOC) as part of the Northland Forest Park.
You can visit and walk through the forest to see the magnificent kauri trees, watch birds and enjoy its breathtaking scenery.
The Puketi Forest Trust
In 2003 the Puketi Forest Trust was set up with the mission to restore Puketi Kauri Forest to as close as possible to its former glory.
The Trust raises money from donations, sale of merchandise, sponsorship and grants, which is then used to remove introduced pests from a 5,500 hectare controlled area on the south-west side of the forest.
Once pest control is fully established, the native birds and other wildlife that are presently extinct in the forest will be reintroduced. Most of this work is carried out by volunteers, although contractors are paid to do most of the pest control.
Progress So Far
To date, nearly 100 km of tracks have been cut. Ten traplines with 790 stoat traps and 204 cat traps have been established in the 5500 hectare management area. 2300 rat traps have been set out in the 650 hectare core area.
By the end of July 2009 more than 11,000 pests have been removed!
Monitoring has indicated increases in populations of kiwi and other birds
With our targets for reduced rat populations being achieved, re-introduction of locally extinct wildlife has begun with a female kokako being returned to the forest in November 2008 and 30 North Island robins (toutouwai) in June 2009.
The information above has been paraphrased from the Puketi Forest Trust website. Be sure to visit their website, which contains a lot more information.