Welcome and kia ora to our initiative.

Biodiversity is the variety of life on earth comprising all plants and animals and the ecosystems that support them.

Biodiversity forms the foundation of the vast array of ecosystem services that critically contribute to human well being.

“It seems to me that the natural world is the greatest source of excitement; the greatest source of visual beauty; the greatest source of intellectual interest. It is the greatest source of so much in life that makes life worth living.”
― Sir David Attenborough

The Aspiring Biodiversity Trust intends to protect, restore and enhance indigenous biodiversity whilst raising awareness of the importance of the natural world ~ connecting people with nature.

Our current projects focus on the Makarora/Makarore and Wilkin/Otanenui Catchment from “Ridge to River” (Part of Tititea Mt Aspiring National Park), its diverse habitats and the threatened species it supports (Makarora Catchment Threatened Species Plan). Refer to overview for further details.

The Makarora Catchment and its associated tributaries (Rivers the Blue, Young and Wilkin) encompass a plethora of threatened species of conservation concern within a diverse assemblage of important habitats unique to New Zealand.

Makarora River
Makarora River looking towards the Wilkin confluence and the river delta at Lake Wanaka

The habitats and species associations within this environment include; braided river as essential breeding sites for endemic wrybill, black-billed gull, black-fronted tern and banded dotterel. Below, is the first 2017/2018 wrybill fledgling (a vulnerable threatened species endemic to New Zealand which is dependant on braided river habitat to complete its life cycle) identified from ABT’s braided river bird monitoring programme for Makarora River (Dec 2017).

Wrybill fledgling, Makarora braided river habitat Dec 2017

The pristine rivers of the Blue, the Young, the Wilkin and Siberia for whio/blue duck. The alpine habitat of the Southern Alps/ Kā Tiritiri o te Moana as core territory for rock wren and kea. The diverse beech/podocarp forest for kaka, mohua and long-tailed bat.

Juvenile kea looking over the Crucible Basin toward the Gillespie Pass, Siberia Valley

These species need our help and the help of future generations.

Biodiversity and ecosystems – NATURE – is the infrastructure that supports life on planet earth.”   

―   Dr Cristiana Pasca Palmer  UN Convention on Biological Diversity (2018)

ABT general study area for the Makarore/Otanenui catchment from ridge to river.

ABT’s threat management/ invasive predator control programmes and species monitoring are focused on locations of identified remnant threatened species populations and collectively extends into connecting habitats.

The persistance of indigenous biodiversity is an indication of ecosystem health, recognising the inter-connectedness of land, water and the community (ki uta ki tai – the Ngāi Tahu whole system approach).

Thank you for visiting!

Cawthron Institute River Storey Awards Finalist 2021

All text and images by Aspiring Biodiversity Trust unless specified. ABT ©

Partners, Sponsors, and Supporters

Here we wish to acknowledge our partners, sponsors, and supporters

Orc logo
Discover more about the Otago region, the Otago Regional Council and the councillors who represent you. Funds greatly recieved through the Environmental Enhancement Fund in 2017 and ongoing support from the reformed EcoFund

Working in partnership with LINZ through the Jobs For Nature Programme to protect and restore indigenous biodiversity whilst promoting future environmental caretakers/kaitiaki.

Braid logo NZ
New Zealand’s braided rivers are networks of ever-changing channels weaving between islands of gravels. They are home to many species of birds, fish, invertebrates and plants adapted to live in this challenging and dynamic environment.

Support social innovation, build effective organisations and contribute to change. The Foundation model enables creation of Legacy funds in specific areas of interest, that others can then contribute and magnify impact.

Mobilising and developing environmental leaders. Regional groups involved in a range of community-led habitat restoration projects including controlling predators to restore breeding seabird populations at Mt Karioi

Provides wilderness experience tours from the Makarora River. Learn about local history, geology and biodiveristy with an informative commentary from experienced drivers

The Speight’s fund established to support not-for-profit groups working to preserve and protect Otago’s natural environment

Online database of bird observations providing scientists, researchers, amateur naturalists with real time data about bird distribution and abundance.

Ongoing support from a philanthropic organisation which applies its Trust funds for charitable and other purposes which are of benefit to the community.

The DOC Community Fund was awarded during 2019 to contribute to Makarora Catchment Threatened Species Project From Ridge To River

The World Wide Fund For Nature is an international organisation founded in 1961, working in the field of the wilderness preservation, and the reduction of human impact on the environment. Formerly named the World Wildlife Fund.

A philanthropic family foundation established in 1994 by Stephen and Margaret Tindall

International gold mining company providing donation contributing to biodiversity protection and enhancement

Provides the offshore, subsea and marine industries with a comprehensive range of specialist support vessels, ROV’s, marine equipment and services. A generous donation in helicopter services provided to aid threatened species protection.

An innovative Engineering Consultantcy in Arrowtown providing corporate donation to indigeonous biodiversity restoration

A leading Wanaka Law Firm providing excellent expert services

Wanaka suppliers of outdoor equipment and optics

Austrian manufacturer of high quality binoculars, spotting scopes, and tripods. Perfect for bird and nature observations.

Home of the “Siberia Experience” operating memorable fixed wing scenic tours within the Makarora catchment

The 2019 Goldfields Cavalcade to Hawea provided a community donation to conservation work through funds raised from delivery of this fabulous event!

Birds New Zealand is committed to the study of birds and their habitat use within New Zealand through encouraging members and organising projects and schemes. Activities are organised at both the national and regional level.

ES plans to use its Celium technology to create significant biodiversity gains while driving economic benefits. ES enables it’s users to optimise the way they manage and monitor devices and sensors, by delivering cost-effective wireless networks and applications across remote landscapes.

Celium is a unique low power wireless network designed with wide-scale rugged management applications in mind. Technology has been applied at two ABT Alpine study sites to aid protection of threatened species.

Based in Wanaka NZ, Adventure Consultants is a world renowned mountain guiding company with a legacy of climbing expeditions to the world’s highest peaks, and treks to the most remote corners of the globe.

One of New Zealand’s leading authorities for hunting, fishing, camping and tramping information and equipment.

Taking ordinary people on extraordinary adventures, partnering with ABT to deliver an enriched biodiversity experience for visitors.

Working together to help raise awareness and protect endemic threatened species within the Makarora Catchment

Working in collaboration with landowners for the benefit of indigeonous biodiversity. A kind donation greatley recieved (2020) towards braided river bird conservation.

ABT’s prefered accomodation provider: Wonderland Makarora Lodge providing a unique wilderness experience

Colaboration contributing to kea observations and recording

Working together to provide environmental education programmes in New Zealand

Intrepid Group is a global leader in delivering sustainable experience-rich travel working together with ABT to raise the profile of biodiversity.