Project Janszoon is a privately funded trust set up to restore and preserve Abel Tasman’s rich wildlife for all to enjoy. It is a team effort involving conservationists, iwi, locals, scientists, tourism operators and volunteers. Together we’re making a difference.

Named after explorer Abel “Janszoon” Tasman, Project Janszoon was launched in 2012 with the generous support of New Zealand couple Neal and Annette Plowman, who went on to establish the $100 million philanthropic NEXT Foundation. Thanks to the Plowmans, Project Janszoon has committed up to $25 million to make transformational change in the Abel Tasman National Park.

When launched Project Janszoon was unique – it was the first time philanthropists had offered to partner with a government department to restore the ecology of a national park. Since then we have become the blueprint for other landscape scale collaborative conservation projects in Aotearoa.

Over its lifetime, Proejct Janszoon’s focus has been to reverse the trend of ecological decline in the park. We’re working with iwi – Ngāti Tama, Ngāti Rārua and Te Ātiawa, the Department of Conservation (DOC) and the community-led Abel Tasman Birdsong Trust to put things right. Together we’re getting rid of pests and weeds, bringing back native birds and bush, educating young people and inspiring a culture of care for Abel Tasman.

As we reach our restoration targets, we are looking forward to seeing the park grow in richness and diversity so that visitors and locals can enjoy this special place and the plants and animals it is home to.


Together with our partners, Project Janszoon has set a goal of transforming the ecological prospects of the Abel Tasman National Park. 

To ensure the gains are protected for future generations we have signed an agreement with the Government called the Tomorrow Accord. This agreement ensures that once agreed restoration outcomes are achieved, Project Janszoon hands responsibility for maintaining those gains to the Department of Conservation.  the first target, controlling wilding pines, was achieved in 2021 with DOC taking on responsibility for ensuring the wildings don’t come back.

Our other targets include:

  • Biodiversity values in the park are no longer threatened by incursions of invasive weed and pest species
  • Populations of key indicator species of birds, animals and plants are robust and show favourable trends on all vital measures
  • Strong investor and community interest ensures the improvements are secure
  • Visitors to the Park applaud an outstanding conservation success and look for ways to further enhance it
  • The model created by this project is being surpassed on other parts of New Zealand public conservation land


From the start, Project Janszoon prioritised securing the existing ecological values of the park by controlling the key factors contributing to ecological decline. A key transformational investment has been the control of weeds like old man's beard, coastal invaders like marram grass, predator species such as rats, stoats and possums and browsing pests like feral goats.


By accelerating the natural restoration of the park we have been able to reintroduce lost or threatened birds and restore key ecosystems such as the wetland at Hadfield Clearing. These include the planting of key species such as rātā and kāhikatea, and the reintroduction of birds once missing or in low numbers such as kākā, kākāriki, pāteke and whio. We have also seen increases in numbers of forest birds in the park's lowlands in response to predator control.


Central to the project’s success is nurturing the passion of future generations, to ensure locals and visitors continue to care for the park and its ecology. Our education programme has taken thousands of students into the park and our Abel Tasman Youth Ambassadors programme has given young people a pathway to leadership and careers in conservation.


Project Janszoon is a charitable trust established in accordance with the Project Janszoon Trust Deed and overseen by an independent Trust Board.


Project Janszoon is delivered in partnership with the Department of Conservation, ensuring effective use of resources and expertise.


Jim Livingstone

Jim’s role is Senior Ranger – Biodiversity. He provides administrative and technical support of field operations, and liaises frequently with the Project Janszoon team. He’s been with DOC for 16 years, in locations as diverse as the central North Island, the Kermadec Islands and South Westland. He studied and worked in forestry and landscape architecture in Scotland, Australia and Switzerland before moving to New Zealand.

Helen Otley

Helen is the biodiversity ranger supervisor and joins the team after ten years working for DOC on the West Coast. She grew up in Tasmania where she did a BSC and spent time studying the Tasmanian platypus. Spreading her wings she then worked in the Galapagos and Falkland Islands in a variety of roles including working with King Penguins, environmental planning and as a fisheries observer. A love of tramping and mountain biking brought her to New Zealand – both hobbies she plans to pursue in the Tasman district.

Josh Preston

Josh is a Biodiversity Ranger for DOC and has been working in the Motueka office for five years. You probably won’t see Josh on the tracks much as most of his work happens off track controlling weeds and pests. His role includes managing the weed control programme in the park, supervising contractors undertaking pest control in the park and working alongside the Abel Tasman Birdsong Trust as the DOC Liaison.

John Henderson

John leads the team that monitors the many species that are being returned to the Park, including pāteke/brown teal and kākā. You will often find him with an antenna in his hands, searching for birds we have released with transmitters. He’s also involved in the wasp control programmes. John has been with DOC since 2002 and says he gets a real kick out of exploring the Abel Tasman and restoring its birdlife.


Project Janszoon is a team effort and we couldn’t do it alone. We’re proud to work with the following organisations:

Photos courtesy of Dave Buckton nelsonphototours.co.nz and Ruth Bollongino fernphotos.com

Receive our latest news

Subscribe To OUR Newsletter

Get notified about our latest restoration work in the Abel Tasman