About Us

Mō mātou - About us

Kaitiaki o te Ngahere

Kaitiaki o te Ngahere is the name given to us by Whakatū iwi Ngāti Kuia. Literally translated this means ‘guardian of the forest’, however, the true meaning is more complex. 

The word ‘tiaki’ is the basis of the longer word kaitiakitanga. Tiaki means to guard. It also means to preserve, foster, protect and shelter.

The prefix ‘kai’ means someone who carries out an action. A kaitiaki is a person, group or being that acts as a carer, guardian, protector and conserver. 

Kaitiakitanga means guardianship, protection, preservation or sheltering. It is a way of managing the environment, based on the traditional Māori world  view. So, notions of care and protection are at the heart of kaitiakitanga, and give it its conservation ethic.

who we are

Established in 2006

Kaitiaki o te Ngahere was founded by Martin Freeman, Mike Gibbs and Bradley Myer in 2006, with the formation of the Whakatū / Nelson branch, and began operation in the South Island, Aotearoa. The Te Whanganui-a-Tara / Wellington branch, and subsequent operations in the North Island, were established in 2010. We offer innovative and effective solutions to ecological restoration and ecological management planning and implementation, biosecurity requirements, and visitor asset installations in natural area


Kaitiakitanga is explained especially well in Tohunga – Hohepa Kereopa by Paul Moon (David Ling publishing).

“When one considers kaitiaki, you have to consider for what purpose it is being used. If you have a pipi bed, for example, you cannot talk about kaitiaki until you know about all the concepts and life of the pipi. So you need to know how to keep the pipi safe, but you keep it safe for the pipi’s benefit, and not for yours.

Because the job of kaitiaki is to keep the things of creation safe, the return from this is the relationship you get with the thing you are protecting, and the knowledge and learning that comes from that… So, for example, you don’t go and tell the pipi how to live, you allow it to have the opportunity to live the way it knows best, and that is what kaitiaki is.”

To learn more about Kaitiakitanga click here

Our values

The things that we value help to define us as a company. From the start, Kaitiaki o te Ngahere was formed with several values in mind including Manaakitanga – people , Rangatiratanga– leadership and Tohungatanga– expertise. 

Our values in action

We have a Customer focus…

  • We want our clients to be successful in their roles due to the success of our projects
  • We are a responsive and dynamic organisation to do business with

Teamwork is vital…

  • We recognise that it is impossible to achieve our goals on our own
  • We treat others how we would like to be treated
  • Networks with other organisations strengthen our business

People count…

  • We support each other and back each other up
  • We want our people to achieve their potential
  • Our people will want their friends to come and work here
  • The health and safety of our team is critical

We value good communication…

  • Good communication is part of good teamwork
  • Good communication with our clients is part of what makes us great to deal with
  • We take pride in the standard of our reporting

We are Leaders…

  • We value the leaders among us
  • Those who stand up and take responsibility will do well in our organisation
  • We are the leaders in our chosen fields

We are passionate about the environment…

  • We share a passion for the environment and enjoy getting out there.
  • We are committed to best environmental practices.
  • We are committed to a sustainable future for our planet. We reduce, recycle and reuse resources.

Excellence in everything we do…

  • We take pride in our work
  • We know that everything we do represents the Kaitiaki o te Ngahere brand
  • We keep up to date with industry and technological developments

Innovation and creativity give us the edge…

  • Our innovations and creativity keep us ahead of the pack
  • We treasure our intellectual property and solutions… We develop them… We use them
  • We value creative thinking

Attitude is everything…

  • Staff have positive dispositions. People like to be around positive people
  • We like to work hard and get the job done

What we aspire to be

Our teams acknowledge tangata whenua beliefs in Papatūānuku and Ranginui, and how all living things descend from them.

We understand the nature of whakapapa and how all species have a whakapapa.

We aim to restore the mauri to all areas we work in through using the principles of restoration science fused with mātauranga Māori.

We acknowledge the mana of Mana Whenua and seek to learn from their kōrero.

Our core business values reflect our commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi and the value of working under a true partnership. We endeavour to express this in our day-to-day work.

Our name was given to us by Ngati Kuia kaumatua in Whakatū and speaks of our work in restoring natural ecosystems. It also reminds us that Mana Whenua are the kaitiaki of a particular place through their whakapapa links and we recognise the importance of engaging with iwi, hapū and whānau to gain an understanding of a particular place.

Our Logo

Tuatara is our tuakāna, standing strong and guarding the knowledge, the gateway between the stories of the lower jaw, and the karakia and power found in the upper jaw kōrero. 

We look at Tuatara and see te kaitiaki o te taiao. We strive as kaimahi to incorporate restoration science combined with mātauranga Māori into our work and through this restore the mauri to our taiao. We can imagine Tuatara on the prow of our waka.

Health and safety

Kaitiaki o te Ngahere is committed to providing and maintaining a safe and healthy working environment for its employees, visitors, and all persons using the premises as a place of work.

We use ThinkSafe , and our staff undertake training in Health and Safety at all levels and use site-specific hazard plans daily for each job.