Kiwi milestone for Te Papakura o Taranaki

Saturday, April 10th, 2021

Three of the kiwi being brought onto Pukeiti on the Kaitake range. Photo – Robin Martin.

Radio New Zealand

Six kiwi have been released onto the Kaitake range in Te Papakura o Taranaki / Egmont National Park where the call of our national bird has been absent for decades.

The release is a milestone in a battle against predators on Kaitake being waged – for the most part – by a small army of volunteers.

Kaitake, at 680 metres, is the oldest of the three volcanic cones in Te Papakura o Taranaki.

It forms the north-western boundary of the national park and its sun-loving semi-coastal forest reaches to the outskirts of the seaside settlement of Oakura.

Ngā Mahanga a Tairi hapū member Tane Manu said kiwi once came into the village.

“I have spoken to a number of community members that do remember the manu coming all the way down into Oakura and it is still quite surreal that we are going to be hearing this manu back on our mounga especially for us.”

Manu said hapū was on hand to provide the kiwi safe passage on to Kaitake on behalf of the Taranaki Mounga Project, a collaboration between the Department of Conservation, the eight iwi of Taranaki and philanthropic investor the NEXT Foundation.

Co-project manager Sean Zieltjes said its work had built on a decade of hard graft put in by local Kaitake Ranges Conservation Trust.

“Four years ago our team Taranaki Mounga Project came along and really have just helped to amplify their efforts to the point today that we’ve got stoat and ferret control right across Kaitake and we’ve achieved a reduction in pests to a point where that the department allowed us to release these kiwi.”

Zieltjes said there were 500 stoat traps and another 60 ferret traps laid across Kaitake.

About 100 local volunteers went beyond the call of duty to keep them cleared, he said.

Read the full Radio New Zealand article here.

Kiwi coming back to Taranaki’s Kaitake Range

Saturday, April 10th, 2021

Fiona Gordon, Conservation Manager at Rotokare Scenic Reserve holds a kiwi no living on the Kaitake Range. Photo – Jenny Feaver.

Taranaki Daily News

A vanguard of three adult kiwi have been released into hills near New Plymouth as part of a historic reintroduction of the native birds into the area.

Over the next few days 10 western brown kiwi will be released into the Kaitake Range near Taranaki’s famous Pukeiti garden. The range is close to Taranaki Maunga and part of the national park.

The release of the birds was a significant milestone for predator control on the maunga, Tane Manu​, of Ngā Mahanga ā Tāiri​, told a large audience of manu whenua and manuhiri during the powhiri at Pukeiti on Friday.

“There was lots of work still be done to protect kiwi, and it is a tribute to the Kaitake Conservation Trust volunteers and community who have helped make it possible to release the tāonga in the Kaitake Range,” he said.

The kiwi were introduced into the safe haven following intensive trapping and aerial 1080 operations targetting mustelids, rats, and possums, Manu said.

The trio of male and female birds, aged under two years old, were hatched and reared at Rotokare Scenic Reserve Sanctuary, near Eltham.

Much of the work to prepare kiwi for release was due to the late Simon Collins, of Rotokare Scenic Trust, who was a huge advocate for conservation in the community, Tane Houston, of Ngāti Tupaea said.

Read the full Taranaki Daily News article here.

Jacinda the wētā discovered living on maunga Taranaki

Wednesday, April 7th, 2021

Taranaki Daily News

Jacinda has been found living on maunga Taranaki – no, not the Prime Minister, but an extremely rare type of wētā which is named after her.

Hemiandrus jacinda is named after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Photo Zoe Stone.

It is the furthest south that Hemiandrus jacinda has been spotted, and managers of the Te Papakura o Taranaki say it is proof efforts to trap predators within the national park are working.

The discovery was made by a scientist studying endangered toutouwai (NZ robin).

Dr Zoe Stone, from Auckland, spent the summer in the park tagging and tracking the birds for her post-doctoral research project with Massey University.

She had not expected to come across an even more endangered creature.

Hemiandrus jacinda is reddish coloured and has a body that is 5cm long, excluding the antennae.

It was named after the Prime Minister by Massey University ecologist Steven Trewick, who published an official description of it in early March.

When Stone read about the discovery, she remembered spotting a large red wētā on the track early one December morning.

“It was a cool big one, so I took a few photos then I heard a robin call out, and I got distracted,” she said.

“I didn’t think anything of it until I saw Steve’s article come out, and it looked very similar,” she said.

She sent the photos to Trewick, Palmerston North, who confirmed the insect looked like a jacinda wētā, and travelled to Taranaki for a nighttime hunt for more of them.

Read the full Taranaki Daily News article here.

Making a new START toward a rewarding future

Monday, July 6th, 2020

We are proud to work alongside our youth to help them into meaningful employment. Meet Trevor Walker. He comes to the Taranaki Mounga Project from START Taranaki – a programme that supports young men in the youth justice system. ‘Trev’ is helping to restore Koro Taranaki. The maunga is his happy place. Trev has built 300 DOC200 traps and helped to cut tracks for the massive trapline he will be servicing at the top of Mangawhero Road in South Taranaki. All his work is helping to protect whio, kiwi and other precious taonga. TSB Community Trust and Taranaki Mounga are proud to share Trev’s journey with you.

South Taranaki students sound off on stoats

Monday, July 6th, 2020

Auroa School in South Taranaki have developed solar-powered audio sound lures which emit sounds to draw stoats into traps. All in an effort to provide a safe haven to reintroduce whio and other endangered birds back to the region. TSB Community Trust and Taranaki Mounga are proud to share the school’s journey with you

Protecting our environment from Mounga to Moana

Wednesday, July 1st, 2020

Taranaki Mounga DOC ranger and Nau Mai Tours owner Tama Blackburn loves his Waitara community. TSB Community Trust and Taranaki Mounga are proud to share this video about Tama, his connection to Koro Taranaki, and his community volunteering efforts with Waitara Taiao and New Horizons Aotearoa.