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.

Project Janszoon (named after explorer Abel “Janszoon” Tasman) was launched in 2012 with the generous support of New Zealand couple Neal and Annette Plowman, who have since established the $100 million philanthropic NEXT Foundation.  Project Janszoon has committed millions over 30 years to make transformational change in the Abel Tasman National Park. Project Janszoon is unique – this was the first time philanthropists had offered to partner with a government department to restore the ecology of a national park.

The trust aims to reverse the trend of ecological decline in the park. We’re working with iwi, 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, and inspiring a culture of care for Abel Tasman.

We’re aiming to complete the restoration by 2042 – in time for the 400th anniversary of Tasman’s visit to Golden Bay and the park’s 100th anniversary.


Together with our partners, Project Janszoon has set a goal of transforming the ecological prospects of the Abel Tasman National Park over 30 years. Our mission is to secure, restore and  future proof the ecology of the park by 2042, the 100th anniversary of the park’s opening.

The Trust will know it has succeeded when:

  • 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


During the first years of the project the principle focus is on securing the existing ecological values of the park by establishing control of the key factors contributing to ecological decline – primarily weeds and predators.


By accelerating the natural restoration of the park we can reintroduce lost or threatened birds and restore key ecosystems. These include the planting of key species such as rata and kahikatea, and the reintroduction of birds now missing or in low numbers such as kākā, kākāriki, pāteke, mohua, toutouwai/robin, tuatara and key seabirds.


The project’s work will continue long beyond the current target date of 2042. 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.


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

Biodiversity ranger Josh is a member of the trapping and weed team so you’ll often find him walking the Abel Tasman. He is our weeds guru and came to DOC after working with Nelmac. Josh grew up in the Nelson / Tasman region and is a graduate of the NMIT DOC Trainee Ranger programme.

Dan Arnold

Biodiversity ranger Dan focuses on species and spends a lot of his time tracking the birds we have released in the park. He says he always wanted to work in conservation and did the NMIT DOC Trainee Ranger programme in 2014. Before coming to the Abel Tasman he spent two years in Northland working with kiwi.

Rhan Hurst

Rhan is part of the trapping and weed team. A Tasman local he has lived on both sides of “the hill” growing up in Tapawera before heading to Golden Bay. In his last year at Collingwood Area School he took part in a Gateway programme with DOC and went on to work for DOC in Golden Bay. Working in both Kahurangi and the northern end of the Abel Tasman he mostly did trapping and weed work and helped with snail monitoring. Growing up with a love of nature he says he loves working in the bush and it’s an absolute bonus to be able to help protect our threatened animals and plants as part of this working day.

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