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Making a difference

Many organisations and individuals are involved in opening up Aotearoa for everyone. 

Most have similar or overlapping agendas that enable them to work together towards common goals. It ultimately means everyone can access the outdoors and enjoy worthwhile experiences. 

Some people get outdoors just to get a breath of fresh air.

Some want to connect with nature by walking in the bush or sitting under a tree, while others want to find out about our unique plants and animals, or our history.

Some want to get exercise while others want to challenge their fitness.

On this trip you will meet people from the following organisations and get to know the work they do and how they work with others to make a difference.


People tend to form groups when they want to achieve a goal, especially if it is time-consuming or difficult. Most conservation projects are too big for one person. Even groups tend to work with other groups.


Walking Access Commission (Ara Hīkoi Aotearoa). 

Walking Access Commission (Ara Hīkoi Aotearoa) aims to build a legacy of public access to the outdoors for everyone in New Zealand, from walkers to mountain bikers, anglers to horse riders, landholders to trail runners and beyond. 

They work with communities to create and tend to tracks and trails, resolve disputes and care for our land and the people who live, work and play on it.

QEII National Trust (Ngā Kairauhi Papa | Forever protected).

QEII National Trust (Ngā Kairauhi Papa | Forever protected) is an independent charitable trust that partners with private landowners to protect natural and cultural heritage sites on their land with covenants. 

Their partnerships have created a network of over 4400 protected areas throughout Aotearoa, protecting more than 180,000 ha of private land. They play a critical role as a refuge for some of New Zealand’s rarest and most endangered biodiversity and ecosystems.


Federated Farmers.

Federated Farmers is nationwide rural advocacy organization. Many farmers have important ecological and historical sites on their land. 

In order to better preserve some of these significant places, farmers and farm organisations often work with other groups to improve access or to protect  endangered sites. Sometimes land is legally gifted back to the nation forever.

On this trip, you will visit Mt Aspiring Station and see what the Aspinall family has preserved in the way of New Zealand’s history and biodiversity, and made it accessible.


Department of Conservation (Te Papa Atawhai).

Department of Conservation (Te Papa Atawhai) is a government agency charged with conserving New Zealand’s natural and historic heritage.

DOC also want people to participate in recreation and engage with conservation.


Queenstown Lakes District Council.

Queenstown Lakes District Council is the local council for the Wanaka-Queenstown area. 

The Council represents the community and needs to have a mix of natural and built attractions that encourage visitors and make the region a good place to live, work and play.


Matukituki Charitable Trust.

Matukituki Charitable Trust is a community conservation group set up to ensure that the natural attributes of the Matukituki valleys in Mt Aspiring National Park are protected and enhanced.

The Trust aims to restore the habitat and increase the population of all native flora and fauna, but particularly those species that make the valley special, such as kea, whio, South Island robin, rock wren, South Island kaka, South Island rifleman, braided river birds, South Island long tailed bat, several species of lizards, and scarlet mistletoe. 



Iwi. Rightfully, conservation projects impacting the unique biodiversity of Aotearoa involve iwi. 

Every individual and organization involved on this field trip has interacted with iwi to gain insight into the importance of our special plants and animals to tangata whenua. They also have learned more about the pre-European history of the area.



Schools. On this trip you will see lodges and huts used by Dunstan High School and Otago Boys’ High School as part of their outdoors and field trips programme. 

Mt Aspiring Lodge is the Aspinall Family's old Mt Aspiring Station homestead that has been donated to Dunstan High School and converted into a lodge that sleeps forty.

The lodge is used as a base for day tramps so students can experience the outdoors.



Individuals. People volunteer their time to outdoor causes by maintaining tracks, trapping predator pests and removing pest plants.

Individuals also donate money so others have the tools and equipment to carry out such work. 

Everyone also has a significant positive impact by how they behave in the outdoors and how they influence others.