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.
The Trust will know it has succeeded when:
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
Kristiane joined the DOC/Project Janszoon team in June 2018. As part of the animal and plant threats team she will focus particularly on feral cat control. Kristiane was born and bred in Motueka and is a recent graduate of the NMIT Trainee Ranger course. She says the Abel Tasman is like her backyard and she is really excited about working in an area she is so passionate about.
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.
Meagan is a biodiversity ranger for Project Janszoon Education. Her experience has varied from working with at-risk youth in the Appalachian mountains in the United States to serving as the director of Admissions & Student Welfare for an experiential education travel programme for young adults. With a B.A. with Honours in Psychology and Environmental Science, she enjoys combining her passion for the environment with hands-on education and action in the Abel Tasman. When Meagan isn’t in the park with students, you’ll find her exploring the region with her two young children.