Tongariro River Rafting set up the Blue Duck Project Charitable Trust with other business owners to protect the Whio (blue duck). The aim was to increase the number of blue duck on the Tongariro and other Central North Island rivers by eradicating the pests that are threatening their population. The Trust has established trapping lines that stretch 42 km along the banks of North Island rivers and the project is in its 10th year of operation.
The Trust has support from the community, for example the traps are made at the local prison and prisoners on work parties check traps. Tongariro River Rafting staff and guests also check traps, including the more remote traps in the upper Tongariro and Whakapapa rivers. Trap checking is included as a part of rafting and fishing excursions.
The blue duck/whio is only found in New Zealand. It is a nationally vulnerable species and faces the risk of becoming extinct. Tongariro River Rafting has a newly developed Blue Duck rafting trip, with proceeds that go directly into conservation efforts.