Mission - The Trust aims to help provide local Chatham Islanders with the skills and resources needed to protect the unique natural heritage of these amazing Islands, conserving and restoring habitats and species for future generations to enjoy.
Founded in 1998, the Chatham Islands Taiko Trust was originally created to preserve the endangered taiko, and it was the first community conservation group ever to be established in the Chathams. The choice of having taiko as the flagship species was significant - they were a key source of food in the original Moriori (the first people of the Chathams) diet, and form an important part of the Islands' history. Taiko were thought to be extinct for more than 110 years, but were dramatically rediscovered in 1978. They are now the Islands' most threatened species.
Initially, the primary aim of the Trust was to create a predator free site to provide long-term protection to breeding taiko. In 2006, the Sweetwater predator free site was completed - since then, all known taiko chicks have been transferred there to concentrate and protect the future breeding population.
Following the success of the Sweetwater site, the Trust has expanded its conservation aims to include habitats and wildlife in the Chathams beyond only the taiko. Involvement in recent translocations of Chatham petrel and tui, two well known iconic species, demonstrates the Trust's natural progression towards other conservation projects. Additionally, the Trust has greatly increased its efforts to broaden and encourage community participation in the preservation of the Islands' natural assets.