Te Kākahu Kahukura is an aspirational collaborative vision for regenerating indigenous flora and fauna on the Southern Port Hills. The name Te Kākahu Kahukura has been gifted by manawhenua and means ‘The Cloak of Kahukura’ – referring to the work of Kahukura, a significant local deity in Ngāi Tahu creation traditions responsible for cloaking the wreckage of Te Waka o Aoraki (an early name for the South Island) with plants, forests and swamps. Kākahu means to dress or cloth as well as being a generic name for clothing and garments. Kahukura is particularly important to the creation of the forests of Te Pātaka o Rākaihautū / Banks Peninsula and is remembered through the naming of several prominent peaks of the Port Hills including Te Tihi o Kahukura (Castle Rock) and Te Heru o Kahukura (Sugarloaf).

Kahukura is also a name for rainbows, and the native red admiral butterfly. It also refers to a cloak coloured with red ochre – another connection to the volcanic nature of the Port Hills.


By 2050 the Southern Port Hills has a thriving and resilient indigenous forest supporting an abundance of native birds and invertebrates; it is a taonga for the Ōtautahi / Greater Christchurch community to value, protect and engage with.


People are part of nature: Conservation is about connecting people with nature, while respecting private property rights.
Landowner led: This is a landowner driven initiative.
Voluntary: Involvement in Te Kākahu Kahukura is voluntary.
Evidence based decisions: Decisions made are evidence-based, wherever possible.
Outcome focussed: The focus is on action, with a sense of urgency and adaptability to changing conditions, including climate change.
Flexible: Participants can contribute at their own pace.

Respect is given to stakeholders’ different needs, while working together toward the vision.

Revegetation of the area will include both active and passive restoration.

Collaboration: Work is undertaken collaboratively, including free sharing of information and mutual support.
Efficient: Existing trusts and organisations will be used, with an emphasis on collaboration, unless there is a requirement for additional or new entities or arrangements.
Strategic: The issues are complex, there are competing demands for our time and resources, and resources are limited. We will be smart in seeking the best outcomes given the resources available.


While Te Kākahu Kahukura is centred around the existing private and public protected areas on the Southern Port Hills as shown on the attached map, there are no hard and fast boundaries to the project area. The general area of the wider project is also shown on the following map.


1. Implement Goal 4 of the Banks Peninsula / Te Pātaka o Rākaihautū Ecological Vision 2050 by enabling landowners, agencies, and the community to restore a podocarp/ broadleaved forest on the Southern Port Hills.
2. Reduce animal pests to low levels by 2050, through the implementation of the Pest Free Banks Peninsula initiative.
3. Effectively control weeds.
4. Enhance mahinga kai by aligning with the actions in the Whakaraupō / Lyttelton Harbour Plan.
5. Connect people to the natural landscape by leveraging Selwyn District Council’s and Christchurch City Council’s ‘liveable cities’, ‘healthy environment’ and ‘strong communities’ themes, by working with the Councils and the community.
6. Connect the biodiversity of the Banks Peninsula with urban Christchurch, the Canterbury Plains and Te Waihora.
7. Support the New Zealand Government’s carbon emissions reduction goals, including Christchurch City Council’s carbon neutral by 2030 goal.
8. Work within a framework that can be monitored and measured, to enable accurate reporting and to assist in securing funding.

2020 – 2025 GOALS

The first five-year period provides for the establishment of the project and for engaging the community through five strategic goals in relation to:
1. On the ground ecological restoration and enhancement.
2. Engaging landowners and the community.
3. Research and monitoring.
4. Capacity building.
5. Funding.


The five strategic goals (below) reflect the breadth of work required to achieve the vision. While Goal 1 is the overarching one for on-ground implementation, it cannot be achieved in isolation. All five goals are essential for achieving our vision.

The immediate strategic imperative is to develop and cost operational plans for the proposed priority activities. This will enable the initial priorities to be confirmed and matched to available resources. This planning and budgeting phase is essential to inform decision making and ensure the programme for which we seek funding is realistic, sustainable and includes all the components necessary for success. As well as the on-the-ground control operations, related activities include management and administration, community engagement, fund raising,
monitoring and reporting.


Goal 1: To progressively implement on the ground ecological restoration and enhancement.

Objective 1: Support restoration planting and natural regeneration.
Explanation: Restoration plantings have been and continue to be an important part of conservation on the Port Hills. Planting has the potential to extend the area of regenerating forest to places that might not have regenerated, to connect isolated patches of native forest and to introduce species that might have established very slowly into the area.

Natural regeneration will continue to play an important role as well.

Objective 2: Progressively implement a programme of enrichment plantings.
Explanation: Some of the dominant ‘old growth’ podocarps tōtara, matai and kahikatea are restricted to only a small number of individuals on the Port Hills. Because seed sources are so limited the natural spread of these species will take many centuries. This process can be sped up through strategic enrichment plantings where these species are planted into existing areas of regeneration forest and restoration plantings at low densities, with the expectation that they will eventually become dominant in the mature forest.

Objective 3: Progressively implement the Pest Free Banks Peninsula initiative within the Te Kākahu Kahukura area.
Explanation: The Pest Free Banks Peninsula Strategy 2019 sets out a range of actions related to pest control and pest eradication within the TKK project area.

Objective 4: Identify and begin control of high priority plant pest species.
Explanation: Exotic plant species can have several effects ranging from pushing natural successions in unintended directions to displacing and preventing regeneration of native species, even in intact native forest stands.

Objective 5: Progressively implement the Whakaraupō/Lyttelton Harbour Plan.
Explanation: The Harbour Plan sets out a range of actions related to terrestrial indigenous biodiversity and research and monitoring within the TKK project area.


Goal 2: To work effectively and collaboratively with landowners, partner organisations and volunteers to achieve the vision.

Explanation: Effective community and stakeholder engagement are imperative for landowner cooperation, funding support and participation. This is an integral component to all operational activities and will be supported by a wider communications plan.

An important intended outcome is that people are connected to the natural landscape by leveraging Selwyn District Council’s and Christchurch City Council’s ‘liveable cities’, ‘healthy environment’ and ‘strong communities’ themes. This will include opportunities for passive and active recreation within the wider TKK project area.


Goal 3: To base decisions on good information.

Explanation: Good information supports success. It informs programme design, adaption and innovation. It reduces the risk of adverse outcomes (such as unforeseen trophic consequences) and enables accountability to funders, participants and the community. Research insights can come from the Peninsula or elsewhere. As a long-term project, we will seek to establish on-going partnerships with research institutions and information sharing with similar initiatives elsewhere in New Zealand.

Monitoring is critical but can be complex and expensive. Ideally, it covers control results (such as pest counts) and outcomes (the state of the flora and fauna), both before and after operations. It requires systems and processes for data collection, analysis and reporting.

It must use suitable and consistent methods to give valid and comparable data, both over time and between sites. The development of a monitoring plan is underway to resolve these questions and ensure monitoring is feasible, affordable and fit for purpose.

One intended outcome of the project is that the biodiversity of the Banks Peninsula is connected with urban Christchurch, the Canterbury Plains and Te Waihora. An appropriate monitoring regime needs to be in place to measure success in this regard.


Goal 4: To build delivery and management capacity.

Explanation: The TKK project is large and ambitious and while the collaborative, multi-party nature of the project gives it strength it also adds complexity. People and systems are needed to lead the project, plan and coordinate operational delivery, engage with landowners, monitor and report progress, secure funding and manage relationships with partners and stakeholders. The landowners and organisations collaborating on the project have experience and technical expertise, but they do not have sufficient capacity available to do the work necessary for this project. To be effective and sustainable, there will need to be new staff employed. This will be determined, in part, by the scale and funding for the programme.


Goal 5: To grow consistent and stable funding.

Explanation: Substantial and sustained funding is required to achieve the pest-free vision.

The exact amount is difficult to predict as success is expected to take decades and require new and innovative technology.

The funding approach is to secure base funding from central and local government and corporate partnerships, including by way of carbon offset plantings. Volunteer labour and expenditure (such as the purchase of trees and traps) will also contribute to the programme.

The level of activity will be adjusted to match available funding.