Posted By QEII National Trust | July 26, 2022

We are excited to announce two contestable funds are now open for applications for 2022, The Stephenson Fund and the Auckland Council Fund.  
Both funds enable us to encourage stewardship on QEII covenants and strengthen our partnership with landowners by providing funding for projects that will enhance these protected places. 

The Stephenson Fund  

Named after key founders of the QEII National Trust, Gordon and Celia Stephenson, The Stephenson Fund was established in 2017 with the overarching objective of providing support for enhanced stewardship of covenants and to enhance our partnerships with covenantors.

This funding helps landowners with a range of projects including pest animal and ecological pest plant control, revegetation and supporting recreational use.

The Stephenson Fund in action  

Scott Smithline and Linda Connor received funding through The Stephenson Fund, which allowed them to undertake a successful restoration project to extend, enhance and maintain the natural character and biodiversity of the site by clearing pest species. Their covenant protects 6 hectares of regenerating forest either side of a prominent ridge on the outskirts of Nelson City.  Strategic planting has also helped them to further increase biodiversity within the covenant, with approximately 600 native trees and shrubs planted.  

Bellbird, tūī, kererū, kāhu, pīwakawaka, tauhou and weka can be seen in the covenant. It has good connectivity to large areas of regenerating forest and there are three other QEII covenants within three kilometres. The presence of bellbird and tūī (pollinators and seed distributors) and kererū (seed distributors) in the area will help improve the diversity and complexity of the covenant over time. 

Auckland Council Fund  
Thanks to the generous support of Auckland Council, 2022 is the third year QEII will run the contestable Auckland Council Fund. The objective of the fund is to enhance biodiversity values in registered QEII covenants in the Auckland region.  Projects that have been funded in the past include pest animal and ecological pest plant control, revegetation and Kauri disease deterrence. 

The Auckland Council Fund in action  

Kerry Titchener received a grant from the Auckland Council Fund to support a long-standing weed control project on the family’s Waiheke Island covenant.  The 26-hectare covenant protects well-established coastal vegetation, with a deep valley running to a wetland sitting behind Te Wharau Bay. Younger regenerating areas are recovering well but, in some places, pest plants were a problem.

The Titchener family were regularly undertaking weed control efforts in and around their covenant and their grant from the Auckland Council Fund meant they could tackle the weed problems in the worst affected areas.

A photo point in Urupa from 2017 shows the area dominated by moth plant
Urupa photo point post control Feb 2021

The Titchener’s engaged Weedfree Waiheke to target invasive species, including specific plans to target the moth plant and Rhamnus, along with brush wattle, Ageratina adenophora/Crofton weed, blackberry and Japanese honeysuckle. They saw some impressive results, with the adult populations of the moth plant controlled by removing pods and follow-up seedling control has been planned. The Rhamnus and woolly nightshade was controlled and reduced to a size that will be easier for the Titchener’s to control themselves in the future.

Do you have a project in mind?

Find out more and apply

If you have a project in mind, check out The Stephenson Fund page and the Auckland Council Fund page for more information about the fund criteria, terms and conditions and application information.  

If you have any queries about the application process for either fund, please email us at or If you need advice on a proposed project, or need help deciding which fund is right for your project, please contact your Regional Representative.

Applications for The Stephenson Fund are open until Sunday 28 August and applications for The Auckland Council Fund are open until Sunday 11 September 2022.