The Tōtara for Tōtaranui Project is a community initiative based on the desire to conserve the Marlborough Sounds by protecting, restoring and enhancing the land and the sea for future generations and educating people why this is important.

This is being achieved by bringing together multiple work streams to design and implement integrated catchment management plans for the benefit of all. It is a team effort, and we work with landowners, iwi, volunteers, contractors, scientists, tourism operators and government agencies to coordinate activities to gain efficiencies.

This is a practical project which will enable us to offer environmental education and training to our younger generation, assistance to landowners and corporate or private conservationists by involving them in the removal of pest species and restoration of the local ecosystem.

We are lucky in the Marlborough Sounds to have some native species which call the area home such as the endangered King Shag / Kawau a toru and Hector’s Dolphin / Tūpoupou. Some of the islands in the Queen Charlotte Sound / Tōtaranui are predator free and provide protected areas for species like the Rowi Kiwi, Little Penguins / Kororā, New Zealand Parakeet (Kākāriki) and South Island Saddleback / Tīeke.

Get involved!

The animals and plants of Tōtaranui need your help now!

Mai i te Rangi ki te Moana is very important to the project. It translates to be from the Sky to the Ocean and embodies the inclusive values of the project to consider all aspects and their interdependencies for the best environmental outcomes.

The symbol of the Tōtara for Tōtaranui Project follows the Yin Yang philosophy of the natural world in balance with green signifying the land and blue signifying the sea.

The land has a stand of the mighty Tōtara trees, native tree ferns and riparian planting with local King Shag / Kawau a toru on a headland. Kiwi, New Zealand Parakeet / Kākāriki and South Island Saddleback / Tīeke represent the native fauna.

The ocean is fed by a stream with eels, Little penguin / Kororā, various fish, seagrass, and importantly the endangered Hector’s Dolphin / Tūpoupou.

History of the area

The Marlborough Sounds has a rich and colourful history. Queen Charlotte Sound / Tōtaranui is the easternmost of the main sounds of the Marlborough Sounds.


The Tōtara for Tōtaranui Project is a charitable trust and is governed by an independent trust board with a scientific panel providing advice.


The project is only possible due to our great partners including the many volunteers.


Strategy framework

The Tōtara for Tōtaranui Project is fully supportive of the Kotahitanga mō te Taiao Strategy and the transformational change outcomes it is seeking.

Taonga Species

Many treasured and endangered species can be found in Queen Charlotte Sounds / Totaranui such as the King Shag, Hector’s Dolphin, Rowi Kiwi, Kākāriki, South Island Saddleback and Little Penguins.

Get involved!

The animals and plants of Tōtaranui need your help now!