Dansey Road Scenic Reserve

Northwest of Rotorua, on the Mamaku Plateau, stands one of the most in-tact native eco-systems you’ll find anywhere in New Zealand.

The Dansey Road Scenic Reserve has never been logged. Its trees have stood for over 1000 years and
are home to countless rare species of native birds, invertebrates, reptiles and fungi.

But it’s a combination of sheer luck and generosity that this 500ha paradise exists at all.

When a railway line was first built in 1860 to bring tourists to see Rotorua’s famous pink and white terraces, this section of forest was left untouched to form an attractive ‘gateway’ to the city. The land was kindly given by local Maori to the Putaruru Railway Company and was eventually taken over by the Government when the railway company shut down. As such, it has never been sold and remains in Crown ownership today.

Life in the Dansey Road Scenic Reserve flourished for centuries. A cobalt deficiency in the soil (courtesy of Rotorua’s geothermal landscape) means deer, pigs and goats have always steered clear of this area. They can’t metabolise the plants that grow here, so the damage these animals normally inflict on young trees and shrubs hasn’t occurred.

Yet the reserve is a far cry from what it once was.

Introduced predators such as rats, stoats and possums have decimated the birdlife, eating everything from unhatched chicks through to fully-grown birds. By the late 20th Century the reserve was almost silent.

The Canopy Conservation Trust is continuing the work started by Rotorua Canopy Tours in 2013 to turn this situation around.

We’re working to remove all pests from a 220ha section of the scenic reserve which sits between the old railway line and Dansey Road itself. We’ve had great success so far, but we need your help and support to fill this virgin forest with birdsong once again.

We hope you, your family, business or school will join us and make this dream a reality.

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