How the Foundation Works


As a fund manager we welcome corporate grants, legacies and bequests, gifts and donations and contributions from philanthropists. Strict criteria underpin the Foundation's investment strategy.


  • Protect and sustain New Zealand's natural landscapes, habitats and species.
  • Have demonstrable management and governance controls in place.
  • Encourage community participation in natural heritage conservation.
  • Have a serious scale and impact.
  • Address a specific problem or threat.
  • Be based on robust scientific research and analysis.
  • Make a measurable difference to conservation outcomes at defined milestones.

The Foundation has a memorandum of understanding with the Department of Conservation. This enables us to provide independent trusteeship of private sector funds contributed to departmental programmes, and ensure that these are applied strictly to the purpose for which they were contributed.

We are not limited to providing funding for the Department of Conservation, and can provide funding to any projects that meet our criteria. While we have an existing portfolio of projects in which donors may invest, we also work with potential donors and investors to identify additional projects and programmes where there is a specific interest or outcome sought.

Administration costs are mostly covered by separate grants, which allows most of the donated money to be applied directly to the intended conservation project. All monies are tracked, monitored and accounted for.


New Zealand status: Endemic (found only in New Zealand)
Population: North Island Ko-kako:1400 pairs
Conservation status: North Island Ko-kako: At risk (recovering)
South Island Ko-kako: Data deficient
Found in: New Zealand native forests

The ko-kako belongs to the New Zealand wattlebirds, an ancient family which includes the North and South Island saddleback and the extinct huia. Ko-kako are known for the clarity, beauty and volume of their song.

Ko-kako are largely restricted to areas where ship rats and possums (and to a lesser extent, stoats) are controlled over their breeding season. Pest control has reversed the long-term decline of North Island ko-kako, increasing their numbers from fewer than 350 pairs in the 1990s to approximately 1400 pairs in 2015.

The South Island ko-kako was declared extinct by DOC in 2008, but its conservation status was changed to 'data deficient' in 2013 following the acceptance of a 2007 sighting near Reefton on the West Coast of the South Island.