Mataia Farm was purchased by the Gardner family in 1870 and Mataia Homestead was built in 1891 to house the generations of Gardner family that have managed the 1300 hectare family farm over the years.
Apart from a brief fifteen year period, the land has remained in the Gardner family for 150 years.
One of the unique aspects of Mataia is the fact that it combines a working sheep and beef farm with a large-scale private conservation project.
400 hectares of the 1300 hectare farm is part of a conservation project that started in 2005. Made up largely of coastal native forest margin and salt marsh wetland, the area boasts rare populations of Fernbird and Banded Rail and is host to a large number of other native bird species. The Saltmarsh area at Mataia is a significant roosting ground for arctic waders including Godwits and Lesser knots as well as local migrants including Pied Oystercatchers, Pied Stilts, Banded Dotteral and Caspian Terns.
There is also evidence of pre European occupation of Mataia. These include several well defined pa sites and numerous midden throughout the conservation area.
The project is managed largely by Kevin and Gill Adshead (nee Gardner) who previously ran the family farm for 30years before ‘retiring.’ With funding from the Department of Conservation Biodiversity Fund, the Auckland Regional Council Environmental Initiatives Fund, the Rodney District Council Heritage fund,
and the family, the restoration of this area is a long-term project aimed to restore and enhance the considerable ecological values of the area.
Extensive pest and predator control is continuously carried out as well as re-vegetation planting and the fencing off of bush corridors and riparian margins. Work is carried out by volunteers, groups such as Conservation Volunteers (funded by Fonterra), people from HELPEX who provide labour in return for free board and lodging, and Lincoln’s Lend a Hand students raising funds for the Christchurch Earthquake Appeal.
Funding from the Auckland Council's Environmental Initiatives Fund, from the Rodney Natural Heritage Fund, and from the landowners, has been used for the past 6 years to assist with the riparian fencing and planting of the Mataia Stream and to restore a small tract of bush close to the Homestead. Approximately 4000 trees are planted by volunteers each year.
In addition the project has a relationship with Meadowbank School under the Auckland Council's Trees for Survival programme which sees approximately 1000 trees raised by the students each year and then planted by them in the riparian margins of the Mataia Stream.
The restored area is now approved Kiwi habitat with the first North Island Brown Kiwi released in May 2013.
We are constantly looking for volunteers to help with planting, releasing and monitoring. If you are interested or would like to receive our email newsletter please contact Gill or Kevin at