• 1. What is our vision and how are we achieving it?

    Our vision is to Bring Back the Birdsong to the Routeburn and Dart Valleys and their immediate tributaries. We are doing this by creating an inland sanctuary with intensive pest control and species re-introductions. We give tourism operators, their customers and the wider community an opportunity to support conservation by funding projects with the money generated from donations, helping with field work and through education.

  • 2. Why is the native wildlife in the valleys at risk?

    New Zealand’s wildlife evolved in isolation from the rest of the world and with no mammal predators. They now barely survive in the presence of predators that have been introduced by humans from other parts of the world, such as rats, stoats, possums, mice and cats. Because they evolved without these threats, most of our native species cannot defend themselves. Most species at risk in the Routeburn and Dart valleys nest in places that predators find easy to access – holes in trees or on the ground. More than 50 species have become extinct in New Zealand over the past few hundred years. The birdsong once heard in these valleys is a fading memory. Unless the introduced predators can be controlled or eliminated, the losses will continue.

  • 3. What are our projects?

    Our main projects so far have been Project Rock Wren and Project Routeburn. We are now planning a new and exciting project to extend our predator control activities into the Dart and Rees rivers that flow from the mountains into Lake Wakatipu at Glenorchy. There are five bird species that use the rivers as a habitat and at risk of extinction. More details all our past, current and future projects can be found by going to the PROJECTS link at the top of this page.

  • 4. Are we doing DOC's work?

    DOC has run predator control and research programmes in these valleys for many years but cannot do everything that should be done with its current budget. Money collected locally from hut fees and licensing of local commercial operators goes into a national DOC pool that is re-distributed throughout the country. There are many demands on these resources. Government funding changes as national priorities change. Our trust raises funds and supports local projects using local enthusiasm, resources and expertise. Working with tourism operators, DOC and the community we are making big and sustainable changes. We can bring back the birdsong for all to enjoy, now and in the future.

  • 5. What is our relationship with DOC?

    DOC is fully supportive of the trust. Two DOC staff contribute as advisory trustees providing technical advice to our projects. As all trust operations occur in Mount Aspiring National Park, the trust and DOC have a Memorandum of Understanding defining the roles and responsibilities of each organisation. The relationship is very much a partnership.

  • 6. How do we fund ourselves?

    We are a self-funding charitable trust. New and current income streams are from charitable trusts, local and regional council environment funds, philanthropy, fund raising events held locally and voluntary donations from locals and tourists. Evan Smith, a warden at Mackenzie Hut on the Routeburn track, helps raise funds and the profile of our work when he gives his enjoyable and engaging evening talk to trampers staying at the hut. We also anticipate we will get funds from the government’s Predator Free New Zealand (PFNZ) 2050 strategy. More information about PFNZ 2050 is under the PROJECTS tab at the top of this page.


  • 7. How are commercial operators helping?

    As trustees of the Routeburn-Dart Wildlife Trust, the main tourism operators working in the Routeburn and Dart valleys have made a big commitment to the area. The trust is also supported by local businesses in Glenorchy. Their time, commitment and support to raising funds and to raising awareness of this work is substantial and has no financial reward. Donations from customers go directly into biodiversity projects in the valleys. Local commercial operators recognise that they have a responsibility to the environment that they live in, enjoy and share with their customers. We will ask affected concessionaires to commit to donate an amount for every passenger carried in the project area.  This will take time to achieve. Two trust members, who own activity tourism companies, already lead the way by committing to this initiative.

  • 8. How can I help?

    (a) Donate.


    (b) One of the goals of the Trust is to create opportunities for the public to assist with field work and to promote an appreciation and awareness of the values here. This is a vital part of the Trusts work. As projects are established we will post opportunities for field work and education on our website.