Te Roroa Development Charitable Trust serves iwi in and around Northland’s Waipoua Forest and Kai Iwi Lakes, as well as other sites of high ecological, cultural and spiritual significance. The trust was established in 2011 to progress the social, cultural and environmental aspirations of this Te Roroa area and its inhabitants.

In 2018, The Tindall Foundation (TTF) gave a direct donation of $100,000 to Te Roroa; the same amount has been committed again for both 2019 and 2020 under the Environment focus area. That donation has contributed to a number of projects, among them Te Toa Whenua, an initiative to transform around 900 hectares of tribal land from exotic forestry to more sustainable use.

TTF’s donation enabled three people to be employed on the project, increasing capacity at a local level. “Having the resourcing and support to develop a comprehensive plan has been fundamental in allowing us to begin this project in the best possible way,” says Courtney Davis, Te Roroa’s Environs Manager/Project Coordinator. “With ongoing support from TTF, we hope to make significant progress and are confident about restoring this taonga.”

The relationship has also helped Te Roroa to liaise with environmental organisations in the region, such as Reconnecting Northland and Trees that Count. “TTF has connected us with people and other groups who are able to provide us with advice and support,” Courtney notes.

“Being located in an isolated area can create obstacles, but having help from people who are working on similar mahi has made us feel more confident. We believe that it takes a community to raise a forest and we are grateful that TTF is part of our community.”

Te Roroa’s work meets a number of the Foundation’s goals — ensuring that future generations will enjoy the millions of trees we plant today, increasing native plant and animal species, improving habitats and ecosystems, and increasing biodiversity. It also promotes the specific role of Māori as kaitiaki and enables long-term, positive change.