Project Janszoon

Photo by Dave Buckton

Project Janszoon

There’s a reason why so many people write about the beauty of the early morning in our part of the world. It’s something about the light, the freshness of the air, and it’s also the sound of the native birdlife – possibly the most beautiful wake-up call you’ll ever hear.

“We love hearing visitors rave about the beauty of the park and the increased birdlife,” says Project Janszoon director Bruce Vander Lee. “These days they’re likely to be woken early in the morning by the dawn chorus and we are making no apologies for their sleep-in being interrupted.”

Creating transformational ecological change in the Abel Tasman National Park by 2042 is Project Janszoon’s aim. The privately funded trust is working with the community and other groups to restore and preserve the Abel Tasman’s rich wildlife and ecology and ensure the conservation of this special part of the world for locals and visitors, both now, and in the future.

Named after Abel ‘Janszoon’ Tasman, Project Janszoon was launched in 2012 and works with partners including iwi, the Department of Conservation (DOC), Abel Tasman Birdsong Trust and Nelson Tasman tourism operators to get rid of pests and weeds, and allow native birds and bush to flourish. “It is a team effort involving conservationists, iwi, locals, scientists, tourism operators, and volunteers,” says Bruce. “Together we’re making a difference.”

Already birds like native parrot kākā, kākāriki, tieke/saddleback and rare native ducks whio/blue duck and pāteke/brown teal have been returned to the park so visitors can enjoy seeing these rare manu (birds) in their natural environment. “We have planted more than 45,000 native trees to restore the original forest canopy, and wilding pines are well on the way to being eliminated,” says Bruce. “We’re also working with the community and iwi to inspire our future conservationists through our education programmes.”

With its partners Project Janszoon has worked to set more than 90 per cent of the park with predator traps to protect native species. The Trust’s hope is that the birds will continue to thrive in this stunning area, and populations will continue to increase as the birds are able to breed in a protected environment. “We want visitors to the park to applaud an outstanding conservation success and inspire the next generation of conservationists to continue our work into the future.”

If you’re visiting the park, there is a really useful Abel Tasman App that you can download for free. The app has weather and tide updates, as well as info on the birds, plants, walking times, day walks, points of interest, history and conservation work going on in the park.