He tūruapō
Our vision

We believe farming can help Aotearoa New Zealand’s natural environment thrive, and this is essential to us all thriving.
Our goal was to develop training and resources that equipped farm advisors and farmers with the skills and confidence to implement solutions. 

We aimed to provide practical and clear information on how to improve the biodiversity on their farms and make it viable for their unique pastoral farm system.

We invite visitors to scroll down to learn more about what the pilot aimed to achieve, what biodiversity is, and why we were doing this pilot.
Ō mātou pou
Our pillars
Create win-wins for biodiversity and farms
Farming is a critical lever in protecting biodiversity in NZ because pastoral land is 50% of our land area. However, farming is currently a large contributor to environmental degradation. This means we need farmers to be on board to protect our remaining biodiversity, which makes human life on earth possible and creates built-in resilience to future changes.
Sustainable farming becomes the norm
Protecting and enhancing biodiversity should be a normal part of being a farmer, not something special or an extra task that’s done at the end of the day. Sustainable farming needs to be widespread so there is a cultural change. Expecting farmers to do it on their own won’t work. Who is in the network that supports farmers?
Return the pride to farming
Farmers want to feel that their actions are meaningful and achieving good in the world. They see themselves as stewards of the land and want to leave their farms in a better condition than they got them. Returning pride to farming and connecting to nature is hoped to improve mental wellbeing in rural communities, especially for farmers.
Practical solutions will lead to tangible outcomes
Farmers are practical and farms are complex businesses. They need information that makes sense in a farming system and that can be turned into practice. Farmers want to know that the actions they are taking will have long-term benefits, regardless of any changes in regulations. They need resources that help them take meaningful action towards agreed long-term, local goals.
But first what is biodiversity?
Ecology is the study of the relationship between living organisms (such as plants, birds, fish, insects, fungi) and the physical environment in which they live (such as streams, hills, farmland and forests).

Ecology considers both native and exotic species and includes humans.
Biodiversity translates simply to "biological diversity", or the diversity of living things in an area.

Biodiversity is both the variety of species in an area and the amount of genetic variation within each species in an area. A higher diversity of ecosystems in an area contributes to higher biodiversity.
An ecosystem is a community of living organisms and their interactions with the environment.

An ecosystem might be a pond, stream, paddock, forest or farm.
Why do we need biodiversity?
People need a healthy environment to provide food, water and air - the essentials of life. These are called ecosystem services.
These ecosystem services also benefit farms; for example, by reducing nutrient and sediment run-off and providing shade and shelter. These services are provided when an ecosystem has all the parts it needs to function. Without living things, the natural ecosystem will stop functioning altogether. On the other hand, increasing the diversity of species in an ecosystem will make that ecosystem more robust in the event of change.
Why is native biodiversity important on farms?
Sustaining and enhancing native biodiversity can provide a wide range of benefits to a farm, both direct and indirect.
Direct benefits include providing pollination for crops, enhancing water quality, and reducing soil erosion. Biodiversity also improves the aesthetic values of the farm, for example with more tui and bellbirds calling and flowering native plants like kōwhai. Indirect benefits of looking after biodiversity include easing regulatory pressures and enhancing market access.
Where can farming help biodiversity?
Declining biodiversity is a global crisis. When ecosystems collapse because biodiversity is gone, they no longer provide clean air, water and food. Native biodiversity in Aotearoa is no different, and it needs help. How can farming help?
Farmers know their farms best, and they should decide how to manage pests and planting operations on their own land.  Farming and native biodiversity can coexist. Our hope is that with better information, farm operations can be carried out in a way that helps biodiversity at the same time as being productive and economically sustainable. For example, when planting is done for erosion, sediment, or nutrient management, it can be planned to support biodiversity as well by providing important food sources and habitats for native species.
Biodiversity can mean different things to different people. This 2 minute video describes what we mean when we say “biodiversity”.
Why are we doing this mahi?
Opportunities and Challenges
Pastoral farming occurs across Aotearoa New Zealand and accounts for 50% of land use.
Therefore, how pastoral land is farmed is vital for New Zealand's biodiversity.
If we can support healthy native biodiversity on farms, it will be a significant step towards a healthier and more resilient environment for all of
New Zealand.
Native species are in decline not just in New Zealand but globally.
As a result, the environmental resilience that biodiversity provides is under threat. NZ’s threatened or at-risk native species include:
40% of plants
74% of
freshwater fish
40% of birds
85% of lizards
Many of our native species are unique to New Zealand. We need to keep them around in the future.
We have a scale problem! 23,000 farms and not many farming savvy ecologists available to give advice.
Increased market interest creates financial benefits in having more environmentally resilient farms.
As market and climate forces increase, buyers, banks and insurers are looking to support farms that are more environmentally resilient. So financial benefits are emerging for farmers who have more environmentally aligned and resilient farm systems. 
Farmers' Reality
Takes a lot of time and $$$$
Expert advice and ongoing management are costly.

Development of farm environment plans can cost $2,000-10,000+ with additional costs for biodiversity monitoring, planting, weed and pest control, and more. Across 23,000 pastoral farms, this is $125+ million. 
Disconnected information
Expert advice and resources are hard to find and digest, and they are not inclusive.

Māori aspirations for te mana o te taiao are not widely reflected in existing information. Resources are typically technical and not easily digestible by farmers and farm advisors. 
Hard to implement
No clear path to implementation.

Biodiversity and ecosystem management take years to embed successfully, mistakes are expensive, expert advice is hard to come by, and there are big gaps in knowing what path
to take.
Want to know more about this project? Our strategy document outlines all the key information.
Link to PDF