Where and who


Matuku Link is 37 hectares of wetland and native bush located at 111 Bethells Road, Te Henga, West Auckland. It is located at the head of the Te Henga Wetland, the largest wetland in the Auckland region. Adjacent to the road are the nursery, the barn and the house. Our volunteers prepare and tend the eco-sourced plants in the nursery, which we use to revegetate our wetland. The house is tenanted and the barn has been extensively renovated to provide a volunteer base and a Sustainable Wetland Education Centre.

An extensive array of predator control timed to coincide with neighbouring projects Ark in the Park, Matuku Reserve, Habitat te Henga and Forest Ridge, now protects bush birds in the excellent lowland native forest and the wetland species in the river valley like our namesake matuku (bittern), the re-introduced pateke (brown teal), matata (fernbird) and puweto (spotless crake). It also hosts several native fish species, tuna (eels) and koura (fresh water crayfish).

But it is also a great habitat for people. Because it is flat, it is readily accessible and groups and individuals of all ages can join our working bees, annual Open Day and special group tours. In the past years, these visits have been one of our unexpected successes. Thousands of people experiencing a wetland, sometimes for the first time, and learning of its benefits for humans and animals alike.

From November 2016 to October 2020 this whole project was run by volunteers. Thanks to funding through the Sustainable Business Network for Jobs4Nature, we now have four people working for us – building the boardwalks and paths, controlling willows and controlling other pest plants and animals. We also have a part time project manager/volunteer coordinator funded by the Department of Conservation Community Fund. And we hope to employ an educator in 2021. But we can’t do anything without our volunteers.  

Matuku Reserve Trust owns Matuku Link and it is governed by four hardworking, unpaid trustees, assisted by the dedicated voluntary secretary. Matuku Reserve Trust is a charitable trust so any donation over $5 is tax deductible, or support us in other ways. More info here

Visit our YouTube channel for more videos of group visits, amazing wildlife (harrier chasing pateke chicks!) and volunteer stories.

Chad Wilkie - trustee
Chad Wilkie is an Executive Director of Ignition Partner established in June 2002 to advise companies on strategies for growth from innovation. Formerly he was a Chartered Accountant and senior partner with Deloitte. Chad Wilkie’s specialist areas of interest are strategic and operational planning for innovative companies, shaping growth companies for capital transactions, and the practical aspects of commercialisation. Chad has held a number of Governance roles with companies and other organisations. Chad has a B.Com from Auckland University, and is a member of the Institute of Directors (MInstD)
John Sumich - trustee
A lifelong interest in fauna and flora, what used to be called “Nature Study”, when he was a child, stayed with John through his adult life.
A science degree at Auckland was followed with a medical degree from Otago University. Setting up his general medical practice in West Auckland where he had been brought up, he in later decades initiated and led the successful Ark in the Park project in 1999.
Having bird species previously seen only on off shore reserves in his beloved Waitakere Ranges was a thrill shared by the many others volunteering and working at the Ark in the Park.
Starting a second project, Habitat te Henga, adjacent to the Ark in the Park with an aim of protecting wetland species and re-introducing Pateke (brown teal) has also been successful.
John Staniland - trustee
Now a retired secondary school teacher, John Staniland has been closely involved with Forest and Bird for fifty years and was the first chairman of its Waitakere Branch.

He is a founder and honorary ranger of the Society’s 120 hectare Matuku Reserve adjacent to the “Matuku Link”, having organised the purchase of several blocks of forest to bring the reserve to its present size. He has a good knowledge of the vegetation of this area and its bird life and is particularly interested in New Zealand’s different forest types and in educating people about them. John is also active in the Ornithological Society and A Rocha NZ (Christians in Conservation).

Dale Bainbridge - trustee

Dale was an Architectural Designer/Technician, responsible for the design and detailing of many institutional buildings, industrial and complex residential for the early  part of his working life. Building construction completed the circle and his company has been Registered Master Builders for almost 40 years, now being one of the oldest family construction companies in NZ. Also Dale was an expert witness for a decade in mediations, due to the leaking building problems.

He has trekked and hunted NZ’s back country for many decades, having built a deep love and concern for the environment, influenced in part, by observations.

He and his family have been Forest & Bird members for 30 years and has seen the improved influence and  successes.

Annalily van den Broeke - secretary
Art & media manager by trade, she worked as ‘project manager New Museum’ for the National Glass Museum in The Netherlands before migrating with husband Anko to New Zealand. In this new country she was fortunate enough to manage public artworks for Auckland Council for five years, while spending all spare time with conservation projects. Current chair for the Waitakere Branch of Forest & Bird, Bethells Bufferzone and outreach coordinator and chair of the Ark in the Park management committee. Now coordinating volunteers, social media, funding proposals and everything else she can get her hands on for Matuku Link.
Geoff Davidson - ex trustee

My adult life started with a civil service job and the orthodox O.E. of a young kiwi who, returning to NZ, faced the question: “What to do with my life”?
Conservation issues pushed me into a job and an all-consuming hobby which have shaped every day since then. The job, growing native plants, quickly morphed into a full-time nursery business which in time introduced many plants unknown to the New Zealand public. The hobby kicked in and it became addictive. A group of conservationists and I have spent the past 36 years amassing 7,000 hectares of land as nature reserves around the country. It is an ongoing pleasure seeing nature take control and proceed to reintroduce all those species that once flourished in abundance. It has been a life full of satisfaction and gives hope for the future.

Cate Macinnis-Ng - advisor
Dr Cate Macinnis-Ng is a plant ecophysiologist interested in interactions between plants and environmental conditions. She works at the University of Auckland as a Senior Lecturer in the School of Biological Sciences. In 2014, Cate was a awarded an Early Career Research Excellence Award by the University of Auckland and the New Zealand Society of Plant Biologists recently awarded Cate the 2016 Roger Slack Award.
Cate also holds a Rutherford Discovery Fellowship from the Royal Society of New Zealand. Cate is particularly interested in climate change impacts on native forest and her main research focus is The Kauri Drought Experiment where she is exploring the impacts of low water availability on our largest tree species.
Diane Brunton - advisor
I am currently the Head of the Institute of Natural and Mathematical Sciences at Massey University. My major research interest is in the field of evolution and ecology of animal communication. In particular, I identified the New Zealand Bellbird (Anthornis melanura) and the North Island saddleback (Philesturnus rufusater) as two species that are outstanding meta-populations for testing cultural evolution theory. My collaborative research on both species has proven to be productive and includes publications in top-ranked international journals. The significance of this work to wider biodiversity and conservation studies also underpins my research collaborations with researchers at UC Berkeley, Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, Australia National University and University of Melbourne.

In addition to my ongoing research on avian cultural evolution, I have published 100+ research publications in peer reviewed journals on other ecology and conservation focused projects.

Tim Livingstone - advisor
Director at UHY Haines Norton, chartered accountants. In addition to his formidable accounting skills, Tim has a sharp strategic mind and a passion for preparing highly-convincing business case proposals. He’s also a business valuation expert. Another area of specialisation for Tim is preparing share and business valuations for restructuring purposes, matrimonial disputes and shareholder conflict. He also has specialist knowledge in the wine, education and motor vehicle sectors. Tim’s leadership expertise extends to holding directorships for a number of companies and is actively involved in Waitakere Enterprise and its efforts to nurture business success in West Auckland.
Sir Bob and Lady Barbara Harvey - patrons
Mayor from 1992 – 2010, he served six consecutive terms with Waitakere City Council, the first mayor to do so in over a century.
Harvey and his wife Barbara, a practicing midwife, have five adult children: Celia, Tessa, Claris, Rupert and Fraser.
Harvey was awarded the United Nations Mayors for Peace Award in 1998, the New Zealand Medal for Community Service in 1990, and a Queen’s Service Order for Services to the Community in 1991. He was knighted as a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the 2013 New Years Honours list.
All images courtesy of Jacqui Geux.
Click on the pictures and see our “Potting Pavilion” and nursery taking shape…

Contact us:

Secretary Annalily van den Broeke

021-2207136 or email us at hello@matukulink.org.nz

Physical address:

111 Bethells Road, Te Henga, Auckland

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