Forest & Bird Magazine 322 November 2006

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FOREST BIRD Number 322 • NOVEMBER 2006

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Fantail is Bird of the Year • Fiordland • Bushy Park Great Barrier • Extinct Birds • Going Native • Wellington


Rod Morris

RESTORE THE DAWN CHORUS

Dear Member

numbers and in some areas wiping them out. A warming climate means more of these heavy fruiting and seeding years, increasing the threat from alien pests.

Across New Zealand native birds such as fantails and tui face a massive threat from rats, stoats and other introduced predators this summer.

Those birds lucky enough to live at pest-free ‘mainland island’ such as Bushy Park near Wanganui or pest-controlled Ark in the Park in the Waitakere Ranges will prosper this summer.

The heavy production of fruit and seed last autumn means that rat and stoat numbers have been sustained through winter and will be even higher this spring. So our native birds are under even more pressure than usual. As last autumn’s fruit runs low, the rats and stoats will turn on the birds over the coming summer, decimating their

But those living outside these and similar havens – most of our native birds – will not be so lucky. Too many of these birds will die and the most endangered species, such as the orange-crowned parakeet (kakariki) and yellowhead (mohua), could be lost forever. Forest & Bird is working to create more safe havens for native species and to

control more pests over a wider area of conservation land, beyond the ‘arks’ and islands. Your financial support is vital to help us save our most vulnerable dawn chorus birds. I urge you to support Forest & Bird’s 2006 Annual Appeal to restore New Zealand’s dawn chorus and help keep hope alive for native birds. Thank you for your generous donation.

Dr Peter Maddison Forest & Bird National President PS – Donations of $5 or more are tax deductible

Your donation will help Forest & Bird take action by:

1.

Giving long-term support to restoration projects such as the Ark in the Park in the Waitakere Ranges where stitchbirds are to be released in 2007.

2.

Being an effective voice for restoring the dawn chorus throughout the country

3.

Working with DOC, regional councils and other community groups to actively protect native species from introduced predators across more of the country.

Conservation Successes in 2006 that Forest & Bird helped achieve • New Zealand robins are breeding once again at the Ark in the Park site in the Waitakere Ranges near Auckland and at Somes/Matiu Island near Wellington this spring. • A new South Island High Country conservation park was established at Ruataniwha near Twizel in July. • A new marine reserve was established at Whangarei Harbour in October. • The Manawatu Estuary was officially recognised as a wetland of international importance in October. • Forest & Bird gathered and presented 18,000 signatures on the Save Our Sealions petition at Parliament urging the government to reduce the number of sealions killed in squid fishing operations every year.

You can make your donation: Online at www.forestandbird.org.nz Freepost using the envelope included in our recent appeal

Rod Morris

Freephone 0800 200 064 weekdays during office hours Using the tear-out freepost envelope device on page 59.


FOREST BIRD Number 322 • NOVEMBER 2006 • www.forestandbird.org.nz

Waitakere Ranges

Little Barrier/Hauturu Island Great Barrier/Aotea Island

Auckland

Hunua Ranges

Features

12 Fiordland’s underwater World Heritage Jenny and Tony Enderby visit ten marine reserves.

16 ANZANG Portfolio 2006 Stuart Miller introduces this year’s winners.

Bushy Park, Wanganui

19 The new frontier Dave Hansford reveals new discoveries.

Manawatu Estuary

22 Extinct Birds of New Zealand Michael Szabo previews Te Papa’s new book. Wellington Wairau River

Map artwork: Bruce Mahalski

Awatere Valley, Marborough Seaward Kaikoura Range

Fiordland

Richmond Lake Tekapo Big South Cape/ Taukihepa

The Catlins Halfmoon Bay, Stewart Island/Rakiura

25 Going native Helen Bain on native plants for Auckland gardens.

28 Bushy Park Helen Bain makes a centennial visit.

30 Safeguarding our high country heritage Eugenie Sage takes on tenure review.

33 Natural capital Helen Bain finds tui in Wellington City.

36 Chairman Mike & Coney counsel Helen Bain meets Mike Lee and Sandra Coney.

Forest & Bird incorporating Conservation News is published every February, May, August and November by the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society Inc. The Society's objectives are to preserve and protect the indigenous flora and fauna and natural features and landscapes of New Zealand for their intrinsic worth and for the benefit of all people. Forest & Bird is a member of the World Conservation Union (IUCN) and the New Zealand Partner Designate of BirdLife International. The opinions of contributors to Forest & Bird are not necessarily those of the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society, nor its editor. Forest & Bird is printed on Novatech, an elemental chlorine-free (ECF) paper which is made from wood fibre sourced from sustainably managed forests. * Registered at PO Headquarters, Wellington, as a magazine. ISSN 0015-7384. © Copyright. All rights reserved. Editor: Michael Szabo Deputy Editor: Helen Bain PO Box 631, Wellington. Tel: (04) 385-7374 Fax: (04) 385-7373 m.szabo@forestandbird.org.nz h.bain@forestandbird.org.nz Designer: Dave Kent Design Prepress/Printing: Astra Print Advertising: Vanessa Clegg Print Advertising Ltd, PO Box 13-128, Auckland. Tel: (09) 634-4982 Fax (09) 634-4951 Email: printad.auck@xtra.co.nz

Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society of New Zealand Inc. General Manager: Mike Britton Communications Manager: Michael Szabo North Island Field Coordinator: To be appointed South Island Field Coordinator: Eugenie Sage Advocacy Manager: Kevin Hackwell Services Manager: Julie Watson Central Office: Level 1, 90 Ghuznee St, Wellington. Postal Address: PO Box 631, Wellington. Tel: (04) 385-7374, Fax: (04) 385-7373 Email: office@forestandbird.org.nz Web: www.forestandbird.org.nz Auckland Office: PO Box 67 123, Mt Eden, Auckland. Tel: (09) 631 7142 Fax: (09) 631 7149 Email: n.beveridge@forestandbird.org.nz Christchurch Office: PO Box 2516, Christchurch. Tel: (03) 366 6317 Fax: (03) 365 0788 Email: e.sage@forestandbird.org.nz KCC Coordinator: Ann Graeme 53 Princess Rd, Tauranga Tel: (07) 576-5593 Fax (07) 576-5109 Email: basilann@nettel.net.nz

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Regulars 2 Comment

Face the truth, by Dr Peter Maddison

3 Conservation Briefs Fantail wins Bird of the Year; Chief heads WHA committee; Kokako; Loder Cup; Muttonbirds; Rare plant saved; Cook’s petrels; Black-billed gull; Operation Ark; “Death to rats” on Muttonbird Islands; Dame Kiri launches kereru project; Forest Accord; YHA Young Conservationist Awards; Hihi; Stewart Island community habitat restoration project.

11 Mailbag 38 Going Places Great Barrier/Aotea Island by Tim Higham

42 Itinerant Ecologist A pilgrimage to Big Trees by Geoff Park

44 In the Field A forest of flowers by Ann Graeme and Tim Galloway

46 Branching Out Conservation Week; Windfarm concerns; Contorta campaign ends; Wellington Conservation Awards; Students help Save Our Sealions; Te Wairoa Reserve.

48 Conservation News Save Our Sealions petition; Tenure review moratorium; Lake Tekapo; Manawatu River; Wairau River hearings; Maui’s dolphins; Wildlife Act review.

52 Book Reviews 53 Bulletin 56 Index COVER: FANTAIL (PIWAKAWA), BIRD OF THE YEAR 2006. PHOTOGRAPH: ROD MORRIS FOREST & BIRD • NOVEMBER 2006

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Comment

Face the truth

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ANY of you will have seen An Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore’s documentary film looking at the likely future – or lack of one – of our planet, given climate change predictions. The consequences of climate change for our native plants and animals must be of serious concern to all Forest & Bird members – and anyone who cares for our native species. With more than 18,000 kilometres of coastline – more than the United States – New Zealand is particularly vulnerable. Climate change may bring greater wave action, undercutting and erosion, flooding of coastal areas and consequent pollution and disturbance of coastal waters. This could result in threats to plants – many already extremely rare – that grow on coastal cliffs, estuaries and salt marshes. Coastal erosion could also damage old landfill sites, releasing toxic materials into

waterways and the sea. Increasing storms and increased solar radiation (heat) may also damage those fragile communities that live in the littoral zone – between the tides. Our lowland vegetation and animals have already been decimated by human activities, and the remnants of protected vegetation will likely come under further threat, not only from the weather changes (flooding, droughts) but also from an increase in pests, diseases and weeds, and changing human settlement patterns. If a warming climate means more beech mast years then more introduced predators such as rats and stoats will survive the winter months – and at higher altitudes – to prey on vulnerable native species. Nor are our forests safe. They are also threatened by weather extremes, in particular drought. Slight increases in temperature will also have more subtle effects on our plants and animals. The development of ecosystems over thousands of years has often resulted in very fine “tuning” of flora and fauna to their habitat conditions. Small changes in temperature could affect pollination, germination, growth rates and flowering and fruiting of the plants, with consequent effects on the animals associated with these plants. This leads to a concern about effects on the geographic range of plants and animals – in the past, plant and animal adaptation and dispersal occurred over thousands of years. The predicted speed of global warming – 1.5–2.0°C over 50 years – is likely to have effects on the range of these plants and animals. Some plants may “move” their distribution to cope with the different temperature. Our mountains are also under threat. Increased warming will change freezing levels, displacing alpine plants. Changes to glaciers and snowfields will affect those special plants and animals adapted to these habitats. Lastly, what about lakes, rivers and wetland habitats? They will also suffer from increasing storms, resulting pollution and

siltation and effects of solar radiation. Doom and gloom? Yes. But what an opportunity for us to grapple with. Forest & Bird’s expertise and knowledge of our native plants and animals could be crucial in helping protect them from the onslaught of global warming. Already there are simple things you can do to help: • See, and encourage others to see, An Inconvenient Truth. • Lobby central, regional and local government to take the global warming message seriously and to start planning and acting for a sustainable future. • Submit your ideas into government and council policies, plans and resource consent applications. For example, you could ask how proposed activities will be affected by a 1.0–2.0°C temperature rise or a 50 centimetre rise in sea-level. • Get involved in restoration projects, particularly those that improve vegetation cover for erosion control, or measures to deal with fire hazards I am looking forward to your continued participation in tackling what is probably the most challenging ongoing conservation issue we have ever faced. Dr Peter Maddison Forest & Bird National President

Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society of New Zealand Inc. (Founded 1923) Registered Office at Level One, 90 Ghuznee Street, Wellington. NATIONAL PRESIDENT: Dr Peter Maddison DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Dr Barry Wards NATIONAL TREASURER: Stephen McPhail EXECUTIVE COUNCILLORS: Jocelyn Bieleski, Anne Fenn, Mark Fort, Dr Philip Hart,

Donald Kerr, Janet Ledingham, Carole Long, Craig Potton, Dr Gerry McSweeney, Dr Liz Slooten. DISTINGUISHED LIFE MEMBERS: Dr Bill Ballantine MBE, Stan Butcher QSM, Ken Catt QSM, Audrey Eagle CNZM, Dr Alan Edmonds, Gordon Ell ONZM, Hon. Tony Ellis CNZM, Dr Philip Hart, Hon. Sandra Lee-Vercoe QSO JP, Stewart Gray, Les Henderson, Joan Leckie QSM, Prof. Alan Mark DCNZM CBE, Dr Gerry McSweeney QSO, Geoff Moon OBE, Prof. John Morton QSO, Margaret Peace QSM, Guy Salmon, Lesley Shand MNZM, Gordon Stephenson CNZM, David Underwood.

2 FOREST & BIRD • NOVEMBER 2006

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© Department of Conservation Te Papa Atawhai/ David Mudge

conservationbriefs

Fantail wins Bird of the Year

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HE votes are all in and the fantail (piwakawaka) is officially New Zealand’s Bird of the Year and so has pride of place on the cover of this issue of Forest & Bird magazine. After voting in Forest & Bird’s second annual Bird of the Year poll closed in October, it was the fantail (piwakawaka) that came in first with 458 votes – just a beak ahead of last year’s winner, the tui, which had 453 votes.

Forest & Bird Advocacy Manager Kevin Hackwell says many New Zealanders are very fond of the fantail’s cheeky antics and agile aerial manoeuvres. “The piwakawaka is a bird we all get a great deal of enjoyment from seeing. It is fantastic to see this amazing little bird up close as they follow us through the bush, or even in our own gardens.” With the fantail and tui taking the top two places, it is clear that New Zealanders have a strong appreciation for those native birds that are relatively common, and that we can see and enjoy in our everyday lives, Kevin Hackwell says. “Unfortunately not all our bird species are so lucky, and many of those in the Bird of the Year top 10 are under serious threat, or are in decline.  For example the kakapo, in fourth place, and takahe, in fifth place, are both classified as critically endangered.” While others in the top 10, such as the kea, kereru and kokako are not in such severely dire straits as their critically endangered cousins, they

remain under serious threat from habitat destruction and introduced predators. “We need to ensure that these uniquely New Zealand birds are better protected so that their numbers increase and their presence can continue to be enjoyed by generations to come.” Even the relatively abundant fantail can easily fall prey to domestic cats, Kevin Hackwell says. “If there is just one thing you do to help protect New Zealand’s favourite bird, it is to keep your pet cats inside at night.  Just this simple action will be a significant factor in helping protect the fantail and other native birds.” The kereru was a strong performer this year, climbing from sixth place in 2005 to third this year, possibly helped by the nationwide Kereru Discovery Project, which aims to halt the decline in its population. New to the top 10 this year were the takahe and kiwi, while the stitchbird (hihi) and grey warbler (riroriro) dropped off the top 10.

Kevin Hackwell says it was great to see the number of votes in the Bird of the Year poll increase more than threefold from the inaugural poll in 2005, to a total of 3283 votes this year. “New Zealanders are showing a growing appreciation of our fantastic native species, and are taking an increasing interest in protecting them – that’s something Forest & Bird applauds wholeheartedly.” Helen Bain Bird of the Year top 10: 1. Fantail (piwakawaka) 2. Tui 3. Kereru 4. Kakapo 5. Takahe 6. Kea 7. Kokako 8. Bellbird (korimako) 9. Kiwi 10. Pukeko

To help Forest & Bird Restore the Dawn Chorus please donate to our annual appeal: www.forestandbird.org.nz

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FOREST & BIRD • NOVEMBER 2006

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Tumu te Heuheu

Kokako Kokako

Chief new World Heritage Committee Chairman

King Country kokako get “culture shock” therapy

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UMU te Heuheu, paramount chief of Ngati Tuwharetoa, was appointed Chairman of the United Nations World Heritage Committee in July. The prestigious committee selects, funds and monitors the care of World Heritage Areas (WHA). The chief’s ancestor Horonuku Patatai (Te Heuheu Tukino IV) gifted mounts Tongariro, Ngauruhoe and Ruapehu to the government in 1887 for New Zealand’s first national park and the world’s fourth. The 2640-hectare (ha) gift has since been expanded to a 79,598-ha park and Tongariro National Park was listed as a World Heritage Area in 1990. Maori Affairs Minister Parekura Horomia says the appointment was a milestone for Maori and marked history’s coming full circle. New Zealand has two other World Heritage sites: Te Waipounamu South West New Zealand and the Subantarctic Islands. These

are among the 830 sites on the UN’s world heritage list, which range from East Africa’s Serengeti to historic buildings of the Old World. New Zealand will host the next session of the committee, in Christchurch next July. Conservation Minister Chris Carter said the meeting would be a major event, drawing around 600 participants and observers from the 178 states that are parties to the World Heritage Convention. “Having such a prominent New Zealander in the chair at the meeting will further enhance our country’s profile,” he says. Forest & Bird has previously advocated for WHAs, proposing the Subantarctic Islands for WHA status in the early 1990s. Last year Forest & Bird made a submission which supported the Kermadec Islands and Kahurangi National Park being nominated by New Zealand for WHA status.

OURTEEN kokako transferred from Mapara in the King Country to the Hunua Ranges south of Auckland during August and September were given an introduction to the local kokako dialect to avoid “culture shock” before being moved to their new home. The aim of the transfer was to boost the small remnant population of the threatened endemic birds already in the area, consisting of an estimated 10 pairs, which is managed and protected in the Hunua Regional Park by the Department of Conservation (DOC) and Auckland Regional Council.  “Kokako from different areas have different dialects, therefore it is important to integrate the birds carefully and give them a feeling of familiarity by using their own song,” DOC Auckland Area Manager Beau Fraser says. The transferred birds, which

Cat hits falcon project

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New Zealand falcon

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HE Falcons for Grapes project has suffered a blow, with one of the birds of prey killed by a cat. Just feathers, a claw and a transmitter were all that remained – and cat footprints. The project aims to protect the endangered New Zealand falcons (left) while keeping introduced birds off Marlborough vineyards.

are being radio-tracked, were “sound anchored” when they arrived in the Hunua Ranges, having Mapara dialect kokako calls played to them over a loudspeaker system. It is now hoped that offspring from the 14 transferred birds will one day mate with birds already established in the Hunua Ranges. Their offspring may in turn learn the local dialect and assimilate with the Hunua birds. The Hunua kokako population was down to one breeding female but has increased to an estimated 10 breeding pairs after 10 years of management. If successful, one future possibility may be the option of transferring birds from the Hunua Ranges to Tiritiri Matangi Island to help increase the genetic diversity of the small breeding population of kokako there.

Clarification In the August edition of this magazine, an article entitled “Making a killing?” referred to the Breen-Kim model of the New Zealand sealion population. In publishing the article the Society did not intend anything in it to be interpreted as suggesting that either NIWA or the authors of the model were not objective or lacked scientific integrity. The Society apologises if any comments contained in the article were interpreted in that way. w w w. f o r e s t a n d b i r d . o r g . n z

H A Best

© DEPARTMENT OF CONSERVATION/TE PAPA ATAWHAI

conservationbriefs


PHOTOGRAPH: GEOFF MOON

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Always enjoy wine in moderation. FOREST & BIRD • NOVEMBER 2006

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Forest & Bird member wins 2006 Loder Cup

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ONG-standing Forest & Bird member Bruce Clarkson (above) has been awarded New Zealand’s premier conservation award, the Loder Cup. An associate professor at Waikato University and Director of the Centre for Biodiversity and Ecology Research – and member of Forest & Bird since the age of 11 – Dr Clarkson has spent more than four decades working to recognise and restore native plant communities. Conservation Minister Chris Carter, who presented the award in October, said Dr Clarkson had inspired others as a researcher, teacher and role model, and the award was richly deserved. Dr Clarkson said he was delighted to receive the award. “I had the choice years back where I could have left New Zealand, because in my line of research I had a number of opportunities to go overseas. I made the decision early

Bruce Clarkson

in my career that I wanted to focus on New Zealand flora and ecosystems, and it feels like [the Loder Cup] is confirmation that it was the right move.” Dr Clarkson has been a leader in protection and restoration of indigenous biodiversity through his roles in the Maungatautari Ecological Island Trust, Waikato Biodiversity Forum, Hamilton Community Environmental Programme, Hamilton Gully Restoration Programme, Hakarimata Restoration Trust, Hamilton Environment Centre and Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage Park, and his writing on threatened plant species, vegetation in volcanic landscapes and restoration ecology has been widely published. He has been a member of Forest & Bird’s Taranaki, Rotorua and, most recently, Waikato branches, where he has led the branch’s annual field trip to Awakino for the last five years.

© Department of Conservation Te Papa Atawhai/Simon Walls

Rare plant saved from extinction

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NE of New Zealand’s rarest plants, coastal peppercress (above), has been rescued from the brink of extinction by the Department of Conservation (DOC).

Coastal peppercress (Lepidium banksii Kirk) was so rare that in 1990 only 26 plants were known in the wild. Related to Cook’s scurvy grass, the species was collected by French explorers in the 1820s on the coastline of what is now Abel Tasman National Park and in the Marlborough Sounds, but its survival since has been precarious and it is listed as nationally critical. The small, white-flowered shrubs are vulnerable to a wide range of introduced pests and

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Sooty shearwater (titi)

Muttonbird world’s longest distance migrant

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OOTY shearwaters (titi) – also known as muttonbirds – make the longest animal migration, according to new satellite tracking research published in August in the American journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by a team of scientists from New Zealand, France and the USA. “This is the longest animal migration recorded via an electronic tracking device,” Paul Sagar, a seabird biologist at the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research who took part in the study, says. Each year the birds make a marathon 64,000-kilometre (km) migration from New Zealand across the Pacific to waters off California, Alaska and Japan. Each tracked bird travelled an average of 64,000km in 200 days, flying up to 900-km a day, and diving down to 70 metres in search of prey. Sooty shearwaters, which breed mainly in New Zealand

and Chile, are one of the most abundant seabirds, but like many marine species are in decline. Populations that spend the northern summer off the coast of California dropped dramatically in the late 1980s, primarily because of lower ocean productivity associated with a rise in sea temperature. Climate change and entanglement in fishing gear are also thought to contribute to declines in sooty shearwater numbers, and so knowing where the birds spend the northern summer will help identify the causes of decline in each area. Miniature lightsensitive satellite tags allowed the scientists to track 19 birds, which are about the size of a small gull, from breeding colonies on Codfish/Whenua Hou Island, off Stewart Island, and Mana Island near Wellington. The tags used light and temperature to record each bird’s location every day over several months.

pathogens, including cabbage white butterfly caterpillars, cabbage aphids, slugs, snails, browsing animals and fungal pests, which took a serious toll on peppercress populations. In 1994, DOC’s Simon Walls was delighted to find a large natural population of 450 plants on sand dunes at Mutton Cove – unfortunately wild pigs also discovered the plants and within months none were left. By 2000 it was agreed that a new strategy was needed. Simon Walls – armed with a grubber and peppercress seeds – sought sites along the Abel

Tasman coastline where fur seals, shags, little blue penguins, white-fonted terns or redbilled gulls congregated, and scrabbled up enough dirt to scatter handfuls of seed there. Surprisingly, they produced seedlings, and the seedlings grew – by 2005 there were 183 plants in the wild. Without DOC and Simon Walls’ dedication the species would by now be extinct. There are no naturally occurring wild plants left – all those now in existence are the result of DOC’s efforts. Helen Bain w w w. f o r e s t a n d b i r d . o r g . n z

Brent Stephenson

Waikato Times

conservationbriefs


Titi

Cook’s petrels “hit town”

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T’S not as if Cook’s petrels (titi) have a gambling addiction or anything – but the endangered seabirds keep getting rescued from the Sky City Casino in Auckland. “Because it’s so high it stands out like a beacon, and the birds are attracted to the bright lights”, Auckland University School of Biological Sciences conservation ecologist Matt Rayner says of the Sky Tower’s uncanny attraction to Cook’s petrels. More than 100 of the birds were picked up by bird rescue

centres after being dazzled and crash-landing around Auckland this year, including at least 25 at the Sky tower. However, the frequency of petrel crash-landings is a sign that all is well with Cook’s petrel breeding on Little Barrier/Hauturu Island. Matt Rayner says a trip to the island in March found a large proportion of nesting petrels had successfully hatched eggs. Fledging success was higher than 80%, up from 75% in 2005, and 5% in 2004, when kiore were still present. In the upcoming breeding season researchers hope to attach tracking devices to Cook’s petrels to examine where they roam on their 3-14day foraging trips to feed their chicks. Further research will study the genetic divergence between northern and southern Cook’s petrel populations, whose breeding sites on Hauturu and Codfish Island are separated by more than 1000-kilometres. Prelimianry studies suggest the two populations may be unique and not interbreeding.

© Department of Conservation Te Papa Atawhai/Dave Murray

© Department of Conservation Te Papa Atawhai

conservationbriefs

Black-billed gull

Endangered gull sightings sought

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RESEARCHER is asking the public to help her find out why numbers of endangered black-billed gulls (tarapunga) are rapidly declining in Southland. In 1977 there were about 150,000 breeding birds on the Waiau, Aparima, Oreti and Mataura rivers and 35 colonies; last year this had fallen to about 10,000 birds and nine colonies. Otago University researcher Rachel McClellan, with the

assistance of the Department of Conservation (DOC), Meridian Energy and Environment Southland, has spent the last two breeding seasons trying to discover what is causing this extraordinary decline in a species many thought would never be endangered but is now the most threatened gull species in the world. “People don’t seem to realise that these birds are classified internationally as endangered – the same as the takahe, the yellow-eyed penguin and the blue duck,” she says. Introduced predators are probably a key factor in the species’ decline, but other threats are almost certainly involved, Rachel McClellan believes. She says any information about black-billed gulls is of major value to the research, and not just from Southland but from all over the South Island. She is asking the public to report seeing banded black-billed gulls. Reports of colonies can be made to Rachel McClellan on 0274 065 472 or 03 218 2705. Helen Bain

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© Department of Conservation Te Papa Atawhai/David Mudge

conservationbriefs

A rat raids a fantail’s nest.

Operation Ark combats rat plague

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T is hoped that intensified predator control efforts by Operation Ark will be enough to protect native species from an explosion in rat numbers due to a South Island beech mast year. Operation Ark is a national protection programme established in 2004 to ensure the survival of yellowheads (mohua), orange-fronted parakeets (kakariki), blue duck (whio) and short-tailed bats (pekapeka) through predator control at key sites in the South Island. Unusually high production of beech seed – known as a mast year – last summer across the South Island triggered a rat plague that risked wiping out populations of the rare native species, prompting the Department of Conservation (DOC) to step up control operations. Operation Ark coordinator Richard Suggate says the growing rat numbers were a serious threat to endangered birds and bats, and immediate action was needed to reduce predator numbers before the birds were at their most vulnerable during the breeding season. The beech mast occurred at levels last seen in the double beech mast years of 2000 and 2001, which led a huge explosion of pests, and large numbers of mohua and kakariki were lost. However, Operation Ark only resorted to using aerial drops of 1080 where ground operations were not effective in reducing predator numbers enough to ensure the birds’ protection, Richard Suggate says.

In the Hawdon and Hurunui Valleys, important sites for orange-fronted kakariki, rat tracking tunnels had strike rates of 4-5% even though brodificoum was being used in bait stations, so field staff decided to switch to 1080 in bait stations. Further south in the Dart Valley – a high priority mohua site – rats were showing no signs of eating the poison bait. Perhaps they were wary of the yellow bait stations or the chocolate lure. As a result rat numbers were rapidly increasing to high levels. Aerial 1080 drops were conducted there in October because rat levels that high would have a devastating effect on the mohua breeding season at the end of October, Richard Suggate says. In the Eglinton Valley 1080 in bait stations was used from June onwards and held rat numbers down – hopefully low enough to protect mohua and long and short-tailed bats (pekapeka) there. In the Catlins, a major site for mohua, rat numbers were “tearing up”, but rats there had no problem eating 1080 in bait stations. Richard Suggate says he is reasonably confident that aerial 1080 drops will be successful in reducing rat numbers to protect the vulnerable bird populations. The use of “pre-feed” – drops of bait not treated with poison before the real poison drop – appears to make a big difference in effectiveness, he says. Rats tend to sample any new food source and wait a while till they are sure it

8 FOREST & BIRD • NOVEMBER 2006

will have no ill effect. If they have tried a non-poison bait and suffered no harm, they will happily tuck into (rather than tentatively nibble) a subsequent poison bait and ingest a fatal dose. Forest & Bird Advocacy Manager Kevin Hackwell says government funding of Operation Ark must be increased if it is to continue to hold back the threat of rat and stoat plagues in increasingly frequent mast years. “The continuation of a string of mast years is absolutely unheralded – there has been nothing like it in the past and it is clear that global warming is behind the increase. Native birds are not getting a chance

to recover between rat plagues, and without intervention some species are at serious risk of extinction.” Kevin Hackwell says that as well as saving the most threatened populations, improvements in predator control techniques developed through Operation Ark will be valuable for use at other sites where it is needed around the country. Increased funding for the Operation Ark would allow DOC to carry out its urgent work without having to transfer funding internally that would have been spent on other vital biodiversity work, he says. Helen Bain

Last teal transfer completed

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HE Department of Conservation carried out the third and final transfer of critically endangered Campbell Island teal to the island in August. The transfer of 54 teal from Pukaha Mt Bruce in the

Wairarapa and Peacock Springs Wildlife Park in Christchurch follows earlier releases in 2004 and 2005 that aim to reestablish the island population of the world’s rarest duck now that rats have been eradicated at Campbell Island.

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“Death to rats” on muttonbird islands

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UTTONBIRDERS and the Department of Conservation (DOC) have joined forces to declare “death to rats” on islands off Stewart Island/Rakiura. DOC and the muttonbirders have spread more than seven tonnes of bait over four ratinfested muttonbird islands off the south-western corner of Stewart Island. This bait drop was the first of two, which aim to eradicate all rats from Big South Cape (Taukihepa), Pukeweka, Solomon (Rerewhakaupoko) and Big Moggy (Mokonui) islands to allow the recovery of a range of endangered species and the restoration of the islands’ unique ecosystem. The rat population erupted on Taukihepa in the 1960s, devastating the island’s flora and fauna, and from there the rats easily swam to the other islands nearby. The local muttonbirders, who own the islands, set up Ka Mate Nga Kiore (Death to Rats) to get rid of the rats and set up quarantine procedures to prevent their return. Ka Mate Nga Kiore contracted DOC to carry out the work and give advice. DOC project leader Pete

McClelland says a second bait drop will be carried out, and then there will be a two year wait before the islands can be declared rat-free. Similar operations on Campbell Island and Whenua Hou/Codfish Island have shown that populations of native species recover rapidly once rats are eradicated. It was the massive eruption in rat numbers on Taukihepa and neighbouring islands that infamously led to the extinction of the Stewart Island snipe, Stead’s bush wren and the greater short-tailed bat (pekapeka), the largest of New Zealand’s bats. The South Island saddleback was only saved by the timely transfer of 36 birds to two nearby rat-free islands, and they have since been spread over 13 islands to safeguard them. Several other bird species and a range of lizards, invertebrates and plants were also eliminated from Taukihepa but have survived on other islands. Discussions about which species will be re-introduced first have already begun now the islands may soon have seen the last of rats.

conservationbriefs

Popular Plants in Biosecur

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ew research into three popular garden plants has raised serious concerns about their potential to invade and take over natural ecosystems. The three species researched by Auckland Regional Council were agapanthus, phoenix palm and AME Kiri Te Kanawa has English ivy.to The looked at come thestudy rescue of the the distances plants could spread kereru, our native pigeon. unassisted, thehas range of habitats Dame Kiri become they were of invading, patron of capable the Kereru Discovery and whatwhich impacts they Project, aims to were help kereru thrive in urban having on parkland andareas. other Onceareas. abundant, kereru natural numbers believed be to All threeare species weretofound declining by 20% every decade, be invasive in a range of due to hunting, introduced ecosystems, spreading into predators and habitat loss. remote and inaccessible areas. At the launch at Te Papa They have significant Tongarewa Museum of New environmental impacts on the Zealand in August, she said there natural areas they invade. had been plenty of kereru when Jack biosecurity she wasCraw, growing up, and she managertheir for the Auckland recalled antics of getting Regional saysberries. the drunk onCouncil, fermented

research confirms what was already suspected in terms of agapanthus and ivy, but that the invasive capabilities of phoenix palm comes as an unwelcome wake-up call. ‘When we started looking, we found phoenix palms everywhere: half-grown palms Ironically kereru were now that had self-sown into in safer in cities, and people mangrove wetlands, youngthe urban areas could attract plants growing in thick kikuyu big birds to their gardens by grass on plants the edges farmcould growing thatofthey paddocks, seedlings feed on, sheeven said. Kererualongside are essential to nikau growing native maintaining New Zealand palm seedlings in dense bush,’ forests because Jack Craw says. they are the only birds capable swallowing the ‘These plantsofare being spread largest fruits of native trees, into some of our most remote such as miro, puriri, karaka, and vulnerable habitats by birds, tawa and kohekohe. wind and water. All three species Partners in the project are are becoming significant weeds Museum of New Zealand, in natural areas.’ Wellington Zoo, Karori Wildlife Jack Craw is urging developers Sanctuary and the Department and gardeners to consider of Conservation’s Pukaha Mt replacing agapanthus, phoenix Bruce National Wildlife Centre.

Dame Kiri launches kereru project

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Forest Accord 15 years on

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ORESTRY and environmental groups celebrated the fifteenth anniversary of the New Zealand Forest Accord in August at a reception held in Wellington. The accord, between five forestry industry groups and 10 environmental organisations, including Forest & Bird, was signed in 1991. Forest & Bird General Manager Mike Britton says that the accord has been effective in stopping a lot of clearing of native forest, particularly regenerating forest, to make way for commercial exotic pine plantations. He says the success of the accord in reaching agreement

between forestry and environment groups over its first 15 years engendered a strong willingness by all parties to continue to work together on matters of mutual concern, such as global warming and the Kyoto Protocol. Speaking at the anniversary celebration, former New Zealand Forestry Owners Association President Bryce Heard said negotiating the accord was one of the highlights of his career in forestry, and had been a breakthrough after years of the industry and environmentalists being at loggerheads over native forest logging. Helen Bain

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FOREST & BIRD • FEBRUARY 2005 FOREST & BIRD • NOVEMBER 2006

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The Dominion Post

conservationbriefs

palm an invasive Undes includes types. Th invade a includin scrub, re margins beachfro dunes, c cliffs, exp pastoral where th both pla They are dense m all other infestatio cover an square m The A looking alternati try clivia foliage to range of colourfu rengaren with foli agapanth white flo coastal g spinifex coastal d conserve pingao), and gah control f sandy in many va


Dave Hansford

conservationbriefs

Conservation Minister Chris Carter with Khan Coleman

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© Department of Conservation Te Papa Atawhai/Dick Veitch

ORMS and a rare caterpillar-like creature proved winners for Kiwi Conservation Club (KCC) members in the 2006 YHA Young Conservationist Awards, which were presented by Conservation Minister Chris Carter at Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa in October. Dannevirke 12-year-old Khan Coleman was joint winner in the primaryintermediate-age individual category, and Clyde Quay School in Wellington won the group award. Both Khan and Clyde Quay School are KCC members. Khan did what even worldrenowned conservationist Sir David Attenborough was unable to achieve: he

Hihi

Hihi is kokako “cousie”

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HE hihi (stitchbird) is a “cousie” of the kokako, according to new research published recently in Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution by three researchers, including Ian Flux of the Department of Conservation. It turns out that, along with the kokako, the hihi is a member of an ancient radiation of birds in New Zealand called the Callaeidae, which also includes the saddleback (tieke) and, before it became extinct

discovered a rare species of peripatus. This caterpillar-like creature found on the forest floor is considered to be the evolutionary link between arthropods and worms, and Khan’s discovery of one in an old rata log was the first time a peripatus had been seen in the local area for 40 years. To protect their special habitat, working with landowner Brian Hales, Khan has secured the Quarry Paddock bush area under a QEII National Trust Covenant, known as Khan’s Bush Reserve. Clyde Quay School students won their award by forming a business selling worm farms to Mount Victoria residents. They plan to spend their prize money on native trees to plant around the school.

Kathy Ombler

KCC members win at 2006 YHA Young Conservationist Awards Stewart Island weka with chick

Community habitat restoration on Stewart Island/Rakiura

TIEKE/saddleback are resident in our gardens.” Well, not quite yet. This is the vision statement for a community restoration project on Stewart Island/Rakiura and, considering the progress achieved in its first three years, it is not a fanciful one. Since volunteer trapping programmes commenced on private land around Halfmoon Bay, bird counts reveal that fantail (piwakawaka) and tomtit (ngirungiru) populations have doubled while tui and bellbird (korimako) numbers increased by around 50%. Weka, rarely seen these days on Stewart Island, were early last century, the huia. The new research places this relocated from nearby Bench Island before a Department of unique group of New Zealand birds between the berrypeckers Conservation (DOC) poison and logrunners, birds that – yes, operation last winter, and are you guessed it – eat berries and now thriving around town. Stewart Island robin have been run along branches in their relocated from Ulva Island and native PNG and Australia. DOC has enough confidence It is thought that the in the pest control programme ancestor bird of this group that further robin (toutouwai) most probably left from transfers are planned this Australia during the Tertiary winter. over 1.6 million years ago. The Stewart Island/Rakiura This has important Community Environment implications for species management, the researchers say. Trust’s Halfmoon Bay Habitat Restoration Project was Most importantly, the established in 2003 and focuses uniqueness that this group on 350 hectares of private land contributes to biodiversity in at Ackers Point, Golden Bay New Zealand needs to be given and Horseshoe Point. Some 35 greater consideration in conservation priority setting by local folk are involved: eight trustees, a paid employee and the government. the rest volunteer residents. It also highlights the Two trust workshops have importance of plans to release hihi at the joint Forest & Bird and been held, with staff from DOC, Environment Southland Auckland Regional Council Ark in the Park project early next year. and trap manufacturer

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“Connovation” advising on habitat restoration, botanical issues and trap handling. One of the volunteers, Margaret Hopkins, says an element of competition to trap the highest number of pest animals soon developed among the residents involved. “We also wondered why we hadn’t thought about doing something like this years ago.” To date around 250 possums, over 500 rats and 11 feral cats have been dealt to, although as Trustee Chris Visser says, the concern is more about what is left than how many pests have been caught. “This is a ‘forever’ project. We have a long way to go to prove we can not only knock the numbers of pests down but keep them down in the long term. We are now rotating through the trapped areas, [however] getting a revenue stream so our efforts can continue long term is a real challenge.” The project has been so succesful that last year the trust won the top Environment Southland Environment Award, but for the local community, the return of the weka has been the most tangible highlight. “The birds have bred and spread through the township and being able to hear weka calling on a clear night from the front of the pub is pretty neat. They do get into peoples’ gardens, but generally everyone is happy to have them around”, Chris Visser says. Kathy Ombler w w w. f o r e s t a n d b i r d . o r g . n z


mailbag Forest & Bird welcomes brief letters of up to 250 words on items in the magazine. We reserve the right to edit letters for length. The deadline for the next issue is 15 December 2006.

Of robins and slugs During low tide the Far North harbour of Parengarenga is a vast expanse of sandflats. I was wading there at Paua in September 2005 being whipped with sand and spray by a gale. Animals that are usually buried tend to come to the surface when the tide turns, and at the end of a short trail I uncovered a small white slug covered in mucus. Although a similar black slug, Melanochlamys cylindrica, is seen occasionally, I knew from literature that a pale specimen is a rarity. Just how rare was revealed later, none had been seen for over 40 years! With friends I have since “refound” white specimens in the Manukau Harbour. DNA research will determine whether the pale and black forms are variants of the same species or separate species. Under the microscope the black slug has a magical border of phosphorescent blue, its body glows blue under strong light due a covering of cilia. The white slug has a scatter of red and white dots not seen with the naked eye. The head pulses with muscular contractions when the egg capsule is laid. But what of the conservation aspect? While the numbers, habitat and breeding habits of endangered birds such as the Chatham Island black robin are now well documented, there are many lesser known species such as this slug that also need study and protection. If observations are not made, we are in danger of ignorantly eliminating or contaminating the habitat of rare species prior to their discovery. – Margaret Morley, Pakuranga. Congratulations Margaret. You have won a pair of Hunter gumboots for your letter.

Kia kaha In our community we have a group called the Waikouaiti, Karitane, River and Estuary Care Group. Anyone can belong and all are welcomed by the

core of dedicated enthusiasts. The revegetation committee is responsible for propagating and planting local plants, protecting the verges and clearing smothering plants. The monitoring committee wades through consents, water applications, appeals, and other bureaucratic nightmares, take appropriate action and keep us informed. Valuable support comes from the local runaka, taiapure, regional council and city council. The August Forest & Bird magazine featured animals from our environment such as southern right whales, sealions, Otago skinks, albatrosses and penguins. It all sounds idyllic, doesn’t it? – if you don’t mention the concerns of a vast gold mine, an enormous poultry farm, and wastes from other human activities that threaten the health of the living environment. Let us give thanks to all such groups around the country who are striving to save our ecosystems. – Ailsa Johnston, Karitane.

Weka tale Back in the 1950s I was responsible for trapping and relocating weka from Gisborne township, where they had reached ‘plague proportions’. They were shifted to Waikaremoana and several other locations including Mokoia Island where they thrived and multiplied. If the descendants are still there (Mokoia) today, and I hope they are, it should be noted that they are stock from Gisborne in case it is felt necessary to introduce new blood to what must be an inbred population by now. Incidentally, the theories on how they got there were amusing. Some said they swam there, others that they drifted across on floating raupo, while another expert thought they had been there all the time. – Bill Axbey, Whitianga.

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FOREST & BIRD • NOVEMBER 2006

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Fiordland’s underwater World Heritage

Jenny & Tony Enderby

Jenny & Tony Enderby

Jenny & Tony Enderby

Calm waters at the head of Wet Jacket Arm, off Acheron Passage.

Red coral in the Te Tapuwae o Hua Marine Reserve

Fiordland’s ten marine reserves are home to unique communities of marine life ranging from dolphins and penguins to corals and snakestars. Words and photographs by Jenny and Tony Enderby.

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N elegant sea pen with orange fronds extends up from the sea floor gravel of Fiordland, catching tiny particles of plankton passing on the gentle current. It looks like the Victorian quill pen it was named after, apart from its colour. Around it stand dozens more up to 35 centimetres (cm) high. They are the dominant life form here 15 metres below the surface at the bottom of Long Sound. If any large scale dredging had taken

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Yellow snakestar amongst black coral colony

place here the sea pens would have been long gone. As part of the Te Tapuwae o Hua Marine Reserve off Preservation Inlet the unique marine life found here is now protected for future generations. The reason the almost pristine habitats of Long Sound exist is because of a freshwater layer, common throughout Fiordland. The layer is created by freshwater stained with tannins from rotting vegetation that washes into the fiords and filters sunlight, darkening the world beneath. Known as deep-water emergence, this allows light-shunning creatures to live in comparatively shallow water. It runs like a river across the warmer and denser saltwater below it. The two layers remain separate until they near the entrances of the fiords where the wind, waves and ocean swells begin to mix the freshwater with the salt. Te Tapuwae o Hua Marine Reserve was established only months before we dived it. No other new marine reserve we have

seen has so much life and so few signs of human interference. Small red coral colonies grow from the rocks protruding from the coarse granite gravel. Large scallops lie buried in the gravel between the corals and the sea pens, their electric blue eyes glowing from the open valves of the shells. Dozens of large blue cod move in and hover around the invertebrate life. This reserve, at 3672-hectares, is the largest in Fiordland, while the tiny 93-hectare Te Awaatu Channel Marine Reserve is the smallest. Prior to 2005, Fiordland’s only marine reserves were Te Awaatu Channel and Piopiotahi in Doubtful and Milford Sounds respectively. Now with eight new marine reserves added to the original two, a much larger range of habitats is protected, thanks in part to Forest & Bird’s representative on the Guardians of Fiordland, Professor Alan Mark. In fact, more than 12% of the inner fiords are now protected as marine reserves. It is the diversity of each fiord that w w w. f o r e s t a n d b i r d . o r g . n z


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Jenny & Tony Enderby Jenny & Tony Enderby

March of the Penguins: Fiordland crested penguins breed in the Fiordland rainforest in colonies of up to 10 pairs. They are one of four penguin species endemic to New Zealand.

Jenny & Tony Enderby

Common dolphins live in pods and are sometimes attracted to ride the bow wave of a passing boat.

Jenny & Tony Enderby

makes the marine life here so special. Perhaps the most well-known marine species that Fiordland is known for is black coral. In places the steep walls support considerable numbers of colonies with some as large as five metres. There are an estimated seven million black coral colonies in Fiordland’s waters. The major threat is not man-made, but the avalanches caused by heavy rain or earthquakes. In the outer area of Moana Uta Marine Reserve in Wet Jacket Arm, off Acheron Passage, thousands of large black corals exist in spite of the threat from above. The largest colonies grow near the ends of low peninsulas least affected by avalanches. Each black coral colony is a unique habitat. Sponges, ascidians, anemones and snake stars all abound on the corals. Fish schools, including butterfly and banded perch, leatherjackets, banded and girdled wrasse, and the ever-present spotties hover all around. Nearer the hard coral trunks tiny triplefins and larger sea perch – also known as Jock Stewarts – sit amongst shells and brachiopods. Red corals, although much smaller than black corals, are also found in large numbers in Fiordland. They live below the underhangs and when lit by torch light or strobe their colour glows a brilliant red. The larger colonies are up to 45 cm across and occasionally tiger shells graze over them. Black and red corals are protected against collection or damage by the Wildlife Act, being two of only three marine species afforded this protection outside of a marine reserve (the other being the black spotted groper). Fiordland’s underwater world was largely unknown until the 1970s. Divers working on the Manapouri Power Station tailrace in Doubtful Sound were the first to discover what lay beneath the discoloured surface water. Their stories of Fiordland’s underwater life began to draw other scuba divers. Our own explorations of Fiordland’s marine reserves have been between Milford Sound in the north and Preservation Inlet in the far south. But the wonders of Fiordland’s marine life run further than just below the water. On our first trip to Doubtful Sound, a pod of bottlenose dolphins (aihe) moved up the sound feeding. Like most skippers ours knew what was happening and sat off. Once the dolphins finished feeding they raced towards our boat’s bow and followed it across the mirror-like surface for 30 minutes. Since then we have seen bottlenose dolphins in Milford, Breaksea and Dusky Sounds. In that time we’ve noticed that when the dolphins aren’t feeding, they’ve all shown the same interest in boats.

Sea pens are the dominant lifeform in Long Sound.

Diver and black coral, a protected species. FOREST & BIRD • NOVEMBER 2006

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Jenny & Tony Enderby

Jenny & Tony Enderby

White-stalked anemone

Jenny & Tony Enderby

Jenny & Tony Enderby

Gorgonian above southern lima shells

Yellow snakestar amongst black coral colony

Red dahlia anemone

Jenny & Tony Enderby

Colonial ascidian

Tony and Jenny Enderby are photo journalists who live at Leigh on the Rodney coast of the Hauraki Gulf.

Calcareous sponges

Fiordland Marine (Te Moana o Atawhenua) Reserves 0 20 40km

na 12 u mi tica les l

Milford Sound/Piopiotahi

Sutherland Sound Bligh Sound

Piopiotahi (Milford Sound) Jenny & Tony Enderby

Jenny & Tony Enderby

Another highlight was in Milford Sound when we were watching two young New Zealand fur seals (kekeno)attempting to play with a pod of bottlenose dolphins. Each time they got close to the dolphin pod they were repulsed by a solid body charge from one or more of the dolphins and eventually chased off. Last year as our charter boat sat near Breaksea Island, a large colony of Fiordland crested penguins (tawaki) marched down the rocks to the water’s edge. More than a dozen of these beautiful birds preened and called before meeting a couple of incoming penguins. The group then moved back up the rocks and into the bush. On subsequent nights as we sat at moorings, more penguins appeared in the water and on the rocks. Although Fiordland National Park is part of Te Waipounamu World Heritage Area, the forest bird life found in Fiordland has been decimated by rats and, more recently, by stoats in many places. It is our hope that the protection of marine life in some of the upper fiords will prevent a similar downturn in species numbers and that, one day, Fiordland’s underwater world will have the same World Heritage Area status bestowed upon it that the land currently enjoys.

Te Hapua (Sutherland Sound)

George Sound

Hawea (Clio Rocks) Caswell Sound Charles Sound Nancy Sound Thompson Sound Doubtful Sound/Patea Dagg Sound

Zoanthid colony

Kahukura (Gold Arm)

Te Awaatu Channel (The Gut) Kutu Parera (Gaer Arm) Taipari Roa (Elizabeth Is)

Taumoana (Five Fingers Peninsula) Dusky Sound

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reserves not to scale]

Jenny & Tony Enderby

Moana Utu (Wet Jacket Arm)

Map courtesy of DOC

Breaksea Sound

Jason mirabilis nudibranchs on hydroid w w w. f o r e s t a n d b i r d . o r g . n z


Jenny & Tony Enderby Jenny & Tony Enderby

New Zealand fur seal (kekeno)

Jenny & Tony Enderby

An unusual coloured yellow sea perch or Jock Stewart

A giant stargazer cruises along the sea-floor.

© Department of Conservation Te Papa Atawhai/S Hayes

Common dolphins (aihe) riding a bow wave in Doubtful Sound.

FOREST & BIRD • NOVEMBER 2006

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ANZANG Portfolio – Nature and

Winner – Underwater Subject: Clown fish in anenome, Anne Worthy, NZ

Landscape Photographer of the Year 2006

Enjoy the beauty of wild nature captured at close quarters in these winning entries from the 2006 Australia, New Zealand, Antarctica and New Guinea (ANZANG) competition. Conservationist and nature photographer Stuart Miller explains why he set up the competition in 2004 from his base in Western Australia.

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ONSIDER paying a yellow-eyed penguin (hoiho) modelling fees. In a roundabout way that is one of the founding aims behind the ANZANG Nature and Landscape Photographer of the Year competition, which is now in its third year. The competition, which is the only one of its kind and scale, focuses on the unique natural heritage of the bioregion Runner-up – Rare and Endangered Animals and Plants: Rock wren, Andy Trowbridge, NZ

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of Australia, New Zealand, Antarctica and New Guinea – continents and islands flung from the great southern supercontinent of Gondwanaland over fifty million years ago and in which, due to long periods of isolation, remarkable flora and fauna have evolved. It aims to celebrate and help preserve this extraordinary legacy by encouraging photography of the region’s nature, touring a photographic exhibition programme to raise public awareness of this natural heritage and the importance of its conservation, and assisting nature conservation in the region. ANZANG Nature conducts the annual photographic competition to select and exhibit the very best photographs of wildlife, plants and landscapes taken in the region. The competition is open to all photographers, amateur or professional alike, of any age or nationality. Photographers entering the 2007 competition will be competing for a cash prize pool of more than $20,000 in ten sections: Animal Behaviour, Animal Portrait, Botanical Subject, Underwater Subject, Wilderness Landscape, Rare and Endangered Animals and Plants, Black and White Subject, Interpretive Photography, Our Impact and Junior Photography. Winner – Rare and Endangered Animals and Plants:Yellow penguin, Darren Jew, Queensland

Northland green gecko, John O’Sullivan, NZ.

The winning and highly commended entries from each year’s competition are published in a book and form a major travelling exhibition that is displayed in public venues and galleries nationally and internationally. Any funds generated surplus to the cost of running the competition and exhibition programme are donated to not-for-profit conservation organisations in Australia and New Zealand that purchase and manage land for flora and fauna protection. To date

the organisations supported have been the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society of New Zealand, Birds Australia, Australian Wildlife Conservancy and the Australian Bush Heritage Fund. In 2006 the competition received more than 1100 entries making it the largest nature-based photographic competition in the Australasia region. In New Zealand the ANZANG exhibition from the first year of competition in 2004 was shown at the Otago Museum, Dunedin

ANZANG

Nature and Landscape Photographer of the Year 2007

Clownfish in blue/purple Anemone, Ann Worthy, Kaiapoi

To enter the competition subjects must be photographed in the bioregion of Australia, New Zealand, Antarctica and New Guinea Cash prizes total twenty thousand Australian dollars Entries close May 1st, 2007 For competition rules, entry form, and further information contact; Web: www.anzangnature.com Email: compete@anzangnature.com Phone: + 61 (0) 8 9321 3685, Fax: + (0) 8 9226 3395 Postal address: ANZANG Nature GPO Box 2828 Perth, Western Australia 6001

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for two months in early 2006 and to date it is estimated that between 250,000 and 300,000 people have visited an ANZANG exhibition in Australia and New Zealand. Kiwi photographers have been prominent in each of the competitions held to date with Graeme Guy, an expatriate New Zealander living in Singapore, taking the top prize in the inaugural 2004 competition and John O’Sullivan of Palmerston North winning the Animal Behaviour section. Andy Trowbridge of Christchurch was highly commended for two of his entries

in 2005 and was runner up in the Rare and Endangered section in 2006. Anne Worthy, an underwater photographer from Wellington, was runner up in the Underwater section in 2004 and won this section in 2006. New Zealand expat editor and publisher Belinda Barnes was invited to join the panel of four judges in this year’s competition and says she was astounded at the breadth and quality of images entered. “I think ANZANG is a unique concept in the region that has achieved excellent results in a relatively short period of time.”

I’m very pleased that Forest & Bird magazine has published the 2006 winning entries because it has a distinguished reputation as an outlet for many of New Zealand’s best-known nature photographers including Geoff Moon, Rod Morris and Craig Potton, as well as newer faces like Brent Stephenson and Rob Suisted. I hope readers of the magazine and supporters of Forest & Bird will enjoy these winning entries. You never know – if you take a photograph that you think might be a potential winner and enter you could see it in print here amongst next year’s winners.”

White heron (kotuku), John Doogan, NZ. Trumpet fish in red coral, Anne Worthy, NZ Highly commended 2005: NZ Scaup, Andy Trowbridge, NZ

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Overall winner 2004: Juvenile black-naped tern, Graeme Guy


Rod Morris

The new frontier

Black-eyed gecko, Seaward Kaikoura Range. Alpine gecko species like this one are still being discovered in the South Island.

In an age of remote sensing and deep-sea submersibles, you might think we had a pretty good idea of what lives here with us on planet Earth, but new species are still turning up in New Zealand every day and scientists say we’ve yet to scratch the surface. Dave Hansford reports on the weird and wonderful world that makes up our least known biodiversity.

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RACE a finger through the leaf litter, turn over a rotting branch, upend a cowpat, or just take a drink from a backcountry stream. You probably just discovered a new species. Gary Barker does it all the time. Admittedly he’s not yet choked on a new species of gecko, but as a scientist with Landcare Research in Hamilton he’s been hard at work on our native leaf-veined slugs and the new discoveries come in faster than he can describe them. “We recently found a 15 centimetre-long animal on Mt Hikurangi, so even quite large animals are still being discovered. And some of them are really quite spectacular. They vary from plain black to bright orange.” He reckons we’ve probably met about w w w. f o r e s t a n d b i r d . o r g . n z

half of our leaf-veined slug fauna, but Gregor Yeates has more work than that in front of him – much, much more. Another Landcare Research scientist, he studies nematodes: tubular worms that live in soil, water, plants or other animals. They’re the most numerous multicellular animal on Earth – thousands live in a single handful of soil – with some 20,000 species described worldwide. At the last official tally, says Yeates, New Zealand had 613 species. But how many more await discovery? “Pick a number,” he says. “It could be 5000. It could 7000 or 8000. There are many lifetimes of work in this.” Talk taxonomy with anyone studying invertebrates and they’ll tell you the

same thing: a complete picture of our biodiversity is still but a few pencilled outlines. The eminent American ecologist Edward O Wilson points out that while we’ve calculated the number of stars in the Milky Way (100 billion) we still have no clear idea of the total number of living things here on Earth, “Not even to the nearest magnitude.” No one knows this better than Dennis Gordon. A National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) scientist, he’s also the New Zealand co-ordinator of an ambitious inventory of global biodiversity called “Species 2000”. The programme will eventually publish an international checklist of animals, plants, fungi and microbes by integrating species databases from institutions the world over. For its part, says Gordon, New Zealand will contribute some 53,000 species, including those yet to be described in museums and other collections. The animal kingdom contributes the bulk, says Gordon, with more than 34,000 members, of which 20,920 are arthropods – the staggeringly multifarious crustaceans, arachnids and insects. Another 9000 species come from the molluscs (4692); the cnidarians – jellyfish, anemones, corals – (1048); the annelids – marine and terrestrial worms, leeches – (1035); and the bryozoans (955). The chordates, or backboned animals like ourselves – birds, fish, reptiles, mammals – make up a surprisingly modest 1611. Phil Sirvid studies spiders at Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa in Wellington. He knows of more than 1100 New Zealand species, many of them endemic, but wouldn’t be at all surprised to see the final tally hit 3500. An example: there were 16 described species of Cambridgea spider, until “a couple of years ago, me and a colleague doubled that fauna, simply by going out for a look”. “We have no idea of the true distribution of some of these things. Some have only been collected a few times, so we don’t know if they’re rare or common.” “There’s an awful lot of work still to do, just to name and describe everything – and trying to do it before the habitat is destroyed. People are still tearing down bush remnants for various reasons, and the things that are in there go with them.” If the land makes for a big taxonomic in-tray, marine scientists face something Herculean. So far, we’ve described around 12,000 species from our seas, from tiny triplefins to colossal squid, but some say we’ve yet to lay eyes on 80% of our ocean’s biodiversity. Dennis Gordon says it depends on where – or if – you try to draw a line. “If you’re including protozoans, that’s a big unknown. Add bacteria to that FOREST & BIRD • NOVEMBER 2006

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Rod Morris Rod Morris

Recently discovered species: Ruakumara tusked weta, adult male beside stream, Waioweka Gorge

Rod Morris

Gollum galaxias, large female in swamp, Allen Creek, Kingston

Fiordland skink, adult on mossy rock at 1500 metres, Sinbad Valley, Fiordland

Rod Morris

Maud Island peripatus, large female on moss, Maud Island

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andÉ well, we don’t even have the faintest idea. The sky’s the limit.” “New Zealand is still very much in the discovery phase, particularly for macroinvertebrates.” Every fortnight, seven new species arrive on his desk, outpacing efforts to describe and name them. At present, there’s a waiting list of 3550 known marine species. “At the present rate,” says Gordon, “and ignoring single-celled organisms, we estimate it would take another 100 years to describe the remaining marine biota.” Te Papa’s curator of fishes, Clive Roberts, is responsible for the National Fish Collection, a scaly, bottled bestiary of some 180,000 specimens. Some would fit in an eyedropper; others need their own two-metre tank. Roberts says we know of around 1200 fish species in the New Zealand Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), and a new one is added, on average, every two or three weeks. “And there’s no reason to think that rate of increase won’t continue for many years to come,” he says. A 2003 deepwater sampling trip aboard NIWA’s research vessel Tangaroa to the Norfolk Ridge – a spine of submarine scarps and volcanoes stretching between Cape Reinga and New Caledonia – yielded freezers-full of unknown creatures, yet Roberts says it would take at least another two voyages to gain a fair idea of the region’s diversity. “Although we collected almost 600 fish species – half the number known from the entire EEZ – four weeks was inadequate to describe that fauna. As you get closer to reaching a representative sample of what’s there, the number of new species drops away – you reach a plateau. Our samples never plateaued, and that reflects the situation all around New Zealand. Even some areas we think we know well, like the Chatham Rise that have been wellfished’ as soon as you put a new type of sampling gear over the side – small trawls, beam trawls – you get new species.” But you don’t need to send a submersible down to 4000 metres to find a new fish species. Roberts discovered one just last year in water slightly over your head. It turned out the “pygmy sleeper” – at 40 millimetres one of our smallest vertebrates – was an endemic species found on rocky reefs around the country. “Nobody had ever really taken the time to look,” Roberts says. But according to one researcher at least: bigger discoveries still await; at least six metres bigger. Te Papa’s Anton van Helden has the “both exciting and very frustrating” job of trying to make sense of New Zealand’s beaked whales. In the museum’s storage and preparation building on Tory Street, he hefts a broken jawbone w w w. f o r e s t a n d b i r d . o r g . n z


w w w. f o r e s t a n d b i r d . o r g . n z

Dave Hansford

Anton Van Helden holding the jawbone of a spade-toothed whale, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.

Mountains in 1948 by Dr Geoffrey Orbell. Then a rare endemic petrel, the Chatham Island taiko, was pronounced alive, if not especially well, by David Crockett in 1978 after a 111-year “extinction”. Most recently in 2003 the New Zealand storm petrel was caught on film off the Whitianga coast by Brent Stephenson after over a century of “extinction”. Then just last summer several birds were caught in the hand in the Hauraki Gulf. DNA samples are currently being analysed alongside that of other storm petrels. Ask any researcher and they will tell you the species identification problem is compounded by a chronic shortage of skilled taxonomists. Funding for taxonomic work, says Gordon, is steadily eroding, and hungry graduates are being lured away by more lucrative, “cuttingedge” sectors like biotech. It is a global trend with far-reaching consequences for conservation. “Take biosecurity,” says Gordon. “If we haven’t named or classified those organisms that live here, how are we going to recognise an alien species? Maybe some organism gets in [that] could be an environmental risk

to New Zealand, and we don’t recognise it soon enough.” “[Taxonomy] is absolutely fundamental to all the rest of biological science. You can’t do an ecological survey if you don’t know what the animals are. You can’t do biotech if you can’t name the animal you’re extracting a chemical from. You can’t do conservation unless you know what it is you’re trying to conserve, or why.” Roberts agrees. “Traditional taxonomy hasn’t been well-funded and now it’s suffering the consequences.” He says we should look hard “at the education system that is producing – or in this case not producing – taxonomists. Look at the funding for students, and at professional salaries.” But as far as he’s concerned, the job is as much fun as ever. “It’s very interesting and rewarding – finding a new species, something that nobody else in the world knows about – that’s a great highlight in anyone’s week.” Dave Hansford of Origin Natural History Media is a Wellington-based writer and photographer.

Leaf-veined slug, Seaward Kaikoura Range

Rod Morris

out of a chaos of skulls and skeletons. This, plus two teeth, represent virtually the sum of our knowledge of the spadetoothed whale, one of at least 21 species of mysterious beaked whale, of which 12 have been recorded from New Zealand waters – five of them first described here. Van Helden wouldn’t be at all surprised if a new species turned up this afternoon. “My guess is that there are still others out there. We don’t know the number of species – we don’t even know the size of a single beaked-whale population.” That’s because they’re notoriously hard to study. Naturally scarce, few have been seen at sea – Van Helden estimates they spend as little as 5% of their time at the surface – and the little we know has had to be gleaned from stranded carcasses. We have many more specimens of some dinosaurs than we have of most beaked whales. “These are some of the largest animals on the planet, and they’re a real mystery,” he says. “It’s a classic example of how big the oceans are and how little we know.” He gazes at the jawbone, as though if he stared at it long enough, the shard might yield some revelation of the animal in life. “We know that this species lives around New Zealand,” he muses, “But these things are rare – no one has ever seen a spade-toothed whale with any more flesh on it than we have here.” Phil Sirvid says that while many thousands of future classifications await, he has enough trouble with some already written. “Many descriptions are more than a hundred years old – ‘state of the art’ could be the late 1800s. You might have a lot of work to do to update the work to a modern standard.” It is, he says, “one long work in progress.” Any national checklist will always be a moveable feast. Species – invertebrates most of them – can and probably are becoming extinct regularly. We have no idea how many bryozoans, for example, we might be losing on heavilytrawled seamounts, how many tiny endemic flatworms are lost in a mining operation. On the plus side of the ledger, new species are constantly arriving, either courtesy of the Tasman westerlies or the suitcases and sea containers of humans. Many won’t survive their first temperate winter, but as the climate warms, we can expect more species to establish, particularly around Auckland and regions north. And then there is the occasional rediscovery – an “extinct” species that returns, like Lazarus, from the afterlife. Arguably our most famous example is the takahe, a species thought to have been lost but then relocated in the Murchison

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Paul Martinson

A Haast’s eagle is mobbed by New Zealand falcons, north-west Nelson. The largest bird of prey that ever lived, they had claws the size of a modern tiger’s and specialised in ambush hunting moa.

Extinct Birds of New Zealand Michael Szabo previews author Alan Tennyson and artist Paul Martinson’s new book which brings to life the lost world of the moa.

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DIRECTOR with the imagination of, say, Peter Jackson, would have a ball turning Extinct Birds of New Zealand into a great movie – and a second director might make a compelling documentary on it too. Paul Martinson’s virtuoso paintings of the fabulous birds of pre-contact Aotearoa and Alan Tennyson’s evocative account of the demise of their world lend themselves to technicolour treatment. The book has many of the ingredients needed to make a Wellywood blockbuster. Flying giants, lumbering beasts and – of course – the obligatory giant wetas. With the dramatic locations of Lord of the Rings, the mainstream success of wildlife

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documentaries such as March of the Penguins, and the ultrarealism now achievable with computer-generated images, it is not hard to imagine a production as spectacular as Weta Workshop’s King Kong or the BBC’s Walking with Dinosaurs. Set in the lush rainforests, dryland mosaic forests and shadowy dracophyllum forests of Aotearoa, the book brings back to life the 58 bird species that have become extinct since human contact. It recounts how these islands were separated and isolated for 80 million years, and evolved some of the most amazing bird species, including Haast’s eagle, a winged predator that was the largest bird of prey ever known, and which had claws the size of a modern day tiger’s. In this prequel version of the New Zealand we inhabit today some of the largest flightless birds ever to tramp the earth, strutted their stuff. All nine species of moa are impeccably illustrated by Paul Martinson in near photographic detail. Moa and Haast’s eagle – which preyed upon moa, amongst other birds – were part of a unique menagerie that included giant w w w. f o r e s t a n d b i r d . o r g . n z


Paul Martinson

Paul Martinson

An eastern moa steps over matagouri in swamp forest on the Canterbury Plains.

flightless adzebills and rails, eerie “laughing” owls, mysterious owlet-nightjars, tiny snipes, delicate wrens, and a native trickster in the form of the New Zealand raven. Some of the bird species from “Moa’s Ark” survived into the European era: the huia, the South Island kokako, and at least two species of the thrush-like piopio. But like so many of their kin, these ancient species were eventually snuffed out by a combination of habitat loss and the onslaught of mammalian predators such as rats, cats, dogs and humans. The Stewart Island snipe and bush wren managed to make it into the twentieth century at Big South Cape Island but were exterminated by rats in 1962, despite the valiant efforts of Don Merton and colleagues from the now defunct Wildlife Service. Some believe the South Island kokako may have clung on in some remote part of Fiordland, but the book’s author, Alan Tennyson, says he is doubtful, citing this species as the last mainland bird extinction formally recognised. Comparing notes with him in the underground collection rooms of Te Papa, where he is Curator of Fossil Vertebrates, I ask about the process for producing the paintings of the birds in the book. Tennyson explains he photographed locations where some of the extinct species are known to have lived. Such photographs provided the visual information for the painting of ravens scavenging around a fur seal colony on a beach near the Pyramid in the Chatham Islands and the mountain vista where the Haast’s eagle once stood. This perhaps helps explain why Paul Martinson’s brilliant paintings have such a convincing presence. The landscapes, plants and the other species of bird, reptile, marine mammal and insect in them are still with us today. Meticulous research was also required. Tennyson visited some of the British museums where stuffed specimens of some of New w w w. f o r e s t a n d b i r d . o r g . n z

A pair of Chatham Island ravens scavenge around a group of fur seals with the Pyramid in view. A group of white-fronted terns and a Chatham oystercatcher are flying past.

NeW Te Papa Press fRom

A unique view into the world of New Zealand’s lost birds November 2006 RRP: $64.99 -21-8

ISBN: 0-909010

AM 30/8/06 11:06:01

Extinct

1 Birds Cover A.indd

In New Zealand, isolated from the outside world for 80 million years, many extraordinary birds evolved – from the giant moa to the beautiful huia. Within a few hundred years, human settlement extinguished quarter of the species here. With its exquisite paintings and fascinating text, this book brings these lost birds to life once more. www.tepapapress.co.nz FOREST & BIRD • NOVEMBER 2006

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Paul Martinson

Paul Martinson

South Island piopio (NZ thrush) and a yellow-crowned kakariki

An Auckland Island merganser with Rangitoto in the background

Dieffenbach’s rail and a New Zealand sealion

Huia (male above, female below), were last seen in 1907

New Zealand owlet-nightjar and a Wellington tree weta

South Island kokako

Snipe-rail and saddleback (tieke)

Paul Martinson

Paul Martinson

Paul Martinson

Paul Martinson

Paul Martinson

Paul Martinson

Crested penguins and a Forbes’ snipe

24 FOREST & BIRD • NOVEMBER 2006

Zealand’s extinct species are stored and was able to study them. He also gathered material for his paper describing Hawkins’s rail, published in 2004. On a visit to Norfolk Island – included as part of the New Zealand region – he met people that had seen the now extinct grey-headed blackbird and Norfolk Island triller, and was able to glean new information on their habits and habitats which helped with the paintings. He thinks he may have seen a glimpse of the white-breasted white-eye while there, a small species which had not been seen for some years. Unfortunately, Tennyson thinks this bird is a likely candidate for the next species to go extinct in the New Zealand region. He is confident of the causes of the extinctions documented in the book. Habitat loss has not yet been a cause of species extinction in New Zealand, he says. “Habitat loss is a threatening process, but not an extinction cause. The introduction of alien animals is the cause of these extinctions. The species in the book would still be alive if not for the presence of introduced species.” One of the noticeable absences from these annals of extinction is the seabird species. With the exception of the seagoing Auckland Island merganser and Scarlett’s shearwater, most of the seabird species that have evolved in New Zealand still survive, most often on remote offshore islands or mountains where they have managed to so far avoid oblivion. A bright point in the book’s gestation was the rediscovery of the New Zealand storm petrel in 2002, a species that had not been seen for 150 years. The tiny petrel was to have been featured in the book but happily is not now included. “The land birds have been the big losers,” Tennyson says. “The danger for them now is that new invasive species could increase the pressure they are already under.” “It is true there are now more takahe, North Island kokako, kakapo, Chatham Island robins and taiko in some locations because of conservation efforts, but other species are still in decline across large areas, including blue duck, kaka, kea and North Island brown kiwi. We are maintaining some species in small areas, but not over large areas.” “We need to reverse the predator onslaught and conserve threatened species over their range, not just at a few locations with intensive measures. We need these strongholds as a defence until introduced predators can be removed from widespread areas.” He is critical of those who have in the past speculated that extinct species would be rediscovered in some remote part of New Zealand as the takahe was in the Murchison Mountains in 1948. “Species such as moa or the laughing owl will not be rediscovered. They are gone forever. We need to focus our efforts now on conserving the species that we still have,” he says. The introduction to Extinct Birds of New Zealand cites a quote from David Quammen’s The Song of the Dodo which sums it all up: “As we extinguish a large portion of the planet’s biological diversity, we will lose also a large portion of our world’s beauty, complexity, intellectual interest, spiritual depth, and ecological health … [The] future we’re presently headed toward … is a future of soul-withering biological loneliness.” Extinct Birds of New Zealand is an outstanding book that will undoubtedly increase awareness and prompt greater efforts to combat the threat of extinction that faces New Zealand’s remaining native bird species. Let’s just hope there will be no need to add more extinct species to future editions of this fine book. Michael Szabo is Forest & Bird’s Communications Manager and editor of Forest & Bird magazine. w w w. f o r e s t a n d b i r d . o r g . n z


Rod Morris

Going native

This dashing tui has been attracted into a garden by a flowering pohutukawa.

Helen Bain shops around for advice on New Zealand plants to help bring native birds back into gardens around the Auckland region.

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HERE are few sights and sounds that are more thrilling for gardeners than the whistling and trilling calls and amusing antics of a tui in their backyard. Not only do native birds like the tui fill your garden with their song, they also help pollinate flowers, setting fruit and seed, and control pest insects without the need for harmful sprays. Tui, bellbird (korimako), silvereye (tauhou), fantail (piwakawaka), kereru, Green gecko in flowering manuka DOC

morepork (ruru) and kingfisher (kotare) are all relatively frequent visitors to many suburban and even central city gardens. Birds will visit your garden as long as they can find food, water, shelter and nesting sites there, and home gardeners play a crucial role in providing thousands of tiny wildlife havens across our cities. Attractive garden-friendly native species you can plant to provide nectar for birds like tui and bellbirds include kowhai, flax (harakeke), kakabeak and tree fuchsia (kotukutuku). To provide fruit and berries for birds including tui, kereru, silvereye and bellbirds, you can plant species including coprosmas, corokias, wineberry, native passionfruit, cabbage trees (ti), miro, matai, taraire, kohekohe, karaka and mahoe – though before

you plant make sure your garden is not too small for some of the larger trees. The Department of Conservation has a useful guide on its website (www.doc.govt. nz) about which native plants provide fruit, berries and nectar at particular times of the year, so you can plan to plant for yearround food supply. Organic gardening writer Hannah Zwartz says the “classics” of flax and kowhai in her Paekakariki garden have proven the best at attracting nectar-feeding native birds. She says some exotic species can also extend the feeding period of nectar-feeders, particularly during winter. “The kowhai is flowering about now [September] and is followed by flax, but often the winter months can be a ‘dry’ period for nectar-producing plants. A tree ponga can make a natural garden umbrella. Craig Potton

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Craig Potton

Michael Szabo

Kakabeak in flower is a nectar source that attracts native insects

Craig Potton

The lush five finger (puakou) attracts red admiral butterflies.

I notice that some introduced species, like bottlebrush, keep the food supply going during that time.” Another winter-flowering exotic that can keep the nectar-feeding birds dining year-round in gardens is the red flowering gum, and kereru enjoy the non-native yellow flowering tree lucerne – sometimes stripping its branches bare. You can also supplement plant food sources by providing extra food. To make nectar water for birds to drink, mix a cup of sugar with one litre of water and add two drops of red food colouring (tui love red). Pour some of the mix into a shallow plastic container and place it in a tree or high place, with a stick or perch next to it. An attractive feeding trough can also be made from a half-round of bamboo. You can also make “bird puddings” for birds such as the silvereye, by melting lard or dripping over a low heat and mixing in budgie/canary seed. Just shape the mixture into a ball, place it in a string onion bag and hang it from a tree. Don’t add salt or peanuts, though, as they can kill birds. A soft apple hung from a branch will attract fruit flies – which will in turn attract fantails. Birds aren’t the only native wildlife you can attract to your garden. To attract skinks

The Poor Knights lily (puarangi) has striking scarlet bottlebrush flower clusters that grow up to 30 centimetres long. ©DOC

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Native clematis (hokokuku) attracts native insects and the native birds that in turn feed on the insects.

and geckos, building a rock or driftwood stack, and planting sedges, grasses, sand coprosmas and Euphorbia glauca will all contribute to an environment they would be happy to call home. Allowing humus and decaying leaves and twigs to build up also provides habitat for lizards and insects, and rotten logs provide habitat for weta, huhu bugs and fungi. Native butterflies can also be attracted by planting food sources – Muhlenbeckia complexa (pohuehue) attracts common copper butterflies, while the five finger Pseudopanax attracts red admirals. Ideally, your garden should try to simulate the native habitats that occur naturally in your area. While space is obviously a factor that may prevent the home gardener planting forest giants, there are many plants that would have originally grown in your area that are suitable for even the smallest urban gardens. Eco-sourcing your plants – choosing plants grown from seeds or cuttings collected from local wild origins – ensures that the unique local characteristics are retained. As well as preserving local biodiversity, eco-sourcing also means your plants will be best adapted to growing in your local conditions. Some nurseries sell eco-sourced plants,

Tui, kaka and geckos feed on the nectar of the flowering pohutukawa. ©DOC


Craig Potton

Craig Potton

The delicate purple poroporo flower attracts native insects

and you can also collect your own. It is illegal to take plants from national and forest parks, conservation areas and reserves, but it is legal (with the owner’s permission) to collect seedlings from private land. The fringes of pine plantations can be a rich source of unwanted natives. The best time to collect seedlings is from March to August. Plants up to 30 centimetres tall are suitable, and can be gently pulled out of the ground by carefully loosening the earth around it with a trowel or fork first, keeping as much soil as possible around the roots. Wrap seedlings immediately in moist newspaper and cut off 50% of the leaves (or 75% of fern fronds) before potting up in yoghurt pots, planter bags or plastic milk bottles cut in half. Keep the seedlings moist and in semi-shade with dappled sunlight, and they will be ready to plant out the following winter. As well as introducing the plants and animals you do want in your garden, you also need to make sure you keep out the plant and animal pests you don’t want. Introduced invasive weeds, such as wild ginger, old man’s beard, banana passionfruit, Japanese honeysuckle and many others, can crowd out and smother native plants in your garden.

Rangiora or bushman’s friend in flower. Craig Potton

Golden yellow kowhai flowers attract tui in spring

Many plants – including old favourites like agapanthus – originally introduced as garden specimens can become invasive pest plants. Weedbusters (www.weedbusters.org. nz) is a useful guide on what plants to avoid, and your regional council and the Department of Conservation also give advice and possibly hands-on help. Animal pests can also be a menace in your garden. Pests such as possums, rats, mice and even your own pet cats can destroy native plant and animal life in your garden. Cats can kill not only native birds, but also lizards and native insects. To reduce the harm your cat can cause, keep it inside at night, well-fed, and put a collar and bell on it. You can control animal pests by setting up traps or bait stations in your garden – contact your regional council biosecurity officer for advice on where to get traps or bait stations and how to set them up. Once you have provided the things that our native wildlife needs, your garden can be a safe haven where native species will happily live, eat and breed. Helen Bain is Forest & Bird’s Communications Officer.

Michael Szabo

The subtle shades of the nikau palm in flower.

Nikau grove in fruit, its colouful seed is a favourite of the kereru. Craig Potton

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James Griffiths

Bushy Park

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ANDERING through the forest at Bushy Park, we come to a huge northern rata. “That’s not a very big one,” our guide, Bushy Park Trust executive committee chairman Allan Anderson, says, leading us on further into the forest. Soon we come to an even more enormous rata, towering above the forest canopy. “That’s not a bad tree, but it’s still only a little one,” Allan says. “I’ll show you a bigger one.” And there, a bit further along the track, is the “bigger one”: Ratanui – literally “big rata” – New Zealand’s largest living northern rata (Metrosideros robusta) at more than 43 metres in height and 3.77 metres in diameter, and probably about 800-years-old. “He’s a fairly big fella,” even Allan will concede. Just 2% of the native forest which once covered the Wanganui region remains today – which makes Bushy Park’s

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One of the gargantuan northern rata

97-hectares near Wanganui City all the more precious for its rarity. Huge rimu, miro, matai, kahikatea, totara, tawa, pukatea and nikau grow in abundance, with many of the large trees heavily laden with epiphytes such as astelia. As well as the gargantuan specimens of northern rata, four other types of rata occur naturally here: three types of white rata (M. colensoi, diffusa and perforate) and scarlet rata (M. fulgens). The completion of a 4.8 kilometre predator-proof fence in May 2005 has given the ancient lowland forest a new lease on life – and made the arrival of a new bunch of native residents possible. Thousands of pukatea and nikau seedlings are springing up all over the forest floor now that rats are not eating the fallen seeds and possums are no longer munching through the new growth – eventually these young trees will replace the forest giants that tower above them.

James Griffiths

Bushy Park homestead is 100 years old in 2006.

“When we got rid of the possums and rats, there was a phenomenal burst of undergrowth coming through,” Allan says. Bushy Park was pronounced predatorfree this year following two aerial drops of brodifacaum bait to wipe out the pests within the fence. Monitoring of 13 rat lines – including hundreds of tunnels – through the bush found only a few late-hibernating hedgehogs which had avoided the poison drops due to sleeping in. With the predators gone, Bushy Park is now welcoming back some of the native birds that once would have been at home in the forest. Already North Island brown kiwi have been released into the forest under Operation Nest Egg. The young birds remain in this predator-free haven till they reach 1.2 kilograms in weight – big enough to fight off predators in the wild beyond the fence. Allan says Bushy Park is probably the most significant kiwi crèche on the mainland – they expect to have 20-30 kiwi released in the forest this year, and that could increase to as many as 70 a year. The week we visited one kiwi had just arrived, having failed to gain weight in captivity, and it is hoped the abundance of kiwi food in the Bushy Park forest will soon beef him up. Two others are off to be released into the wild, having gained sufficient weight on the naturally rich Bushy Park diet. Thirty-four saddleback (tieke) from Mokoia Island in Lake Rotorua were also released at Bushy Park in May this year and are thriving in the forest. A “second chance” 750-metre-long rodent-proof fence is now being built to enclose eight hectares of open space and wetlands around the Bushy Park homestead. This second barrier will guard against any rats or mice that “hitchhike” inside vehicles through the main gate. It is hoped this additional barrier will allow the introduction of takahe, weka, kokako and kaka. Already the abundance of bird life is obvious, even from the verandah of the old homestead. Kereru are lolling about on the lawn: having stripped the nearby tree lucernes bare they are so fat they can w w w. f o r e s t a n d b i r d . o r g . n z


w w w. f o r e s t a n d b i r d . o r g . n z

Helen Bain is Forest & Bird’s Communications Officer.

James Griffiths

Allan Anderson, Chairman of the Bushy Park Trust executive committee.

James Griffiths

hardly waddle. North Island robins (toutouwai), transferred here in 2001 and now breeding successfully, fly down incredibly close to inspect visitors to their forest. “You never see them coming – they just appear like that, right next to you,” Allan says. “If you stop for a while they just turn up like little grey ghosts.” The robins are so unafraid they have even been known to try to untie the shoelaces of visitors. “I love it when I see the unbanded ones – I know they were born here,” Allan says proudly of his tiny charges. The saddlebacks are more elusive. You can hear their calls close by, but it is difficult to see them in the dense forest foliage. As soon as you give up, turn your back and move on they start up again with their “hee hee hee!” It sounds like they are laughing, “Can’t see me!” New Zealand falcons (karearea) can be seen here most days – they have taken out quite a few of the 130 kereru. But that’s the natural way of things, Allan accepts, as is the occasional toppling of the huge old trees – which then become huge rotting logs which are rich larders of food for kiwi and saddlebacks. Without the fence, it would be impossible to re-introduce critically endangered birds here – just one stoat per hectare means that kiwi chicks have virtually no chance of surviving to adulthood outside such havens, Allan says. Bushy Park and its forest would not have survived at all if it were not for the generosity and vision of successful farmer, livestock breeder, racehorse owner and nature lover George Francis Maitland (Frank) Moore, who built the splendid Bushy Park mansion in 1906. Designed by notable architect Charles Tilleard Natusch and built by Wanganui firm Russell and Bignell, the 22-room homestead is classified as Category 1 by the Historic Places Trust for its historic and architectural significance. Many of its unique characteristics remain: the huge stained glass window depicting a sailing ship in the foyer, the

The 4.8-km predator-proof fence at Bushy Park was opened by Governor-General Dame Silvia Cartwright in 2005. New Zealand robins (toutouwai) have been released into the reserve at Bushy Park.

James Griffiths

Michael Szabo

Kereru lolling on the lawn.

33-metre-long corridor, original stables and elaborately carved fireplaces. Even on her hundredth birthday, the grand old lady retains much of the magnificence of her heyday. Ironically, given its original owner’s proclaimed love for the New Zealand forest, the homestead is constructed from kauri, totara, rimu and matai. Moore’s diaries also recount many successful kereru and teal hunts in his youth. However, Moore’s attitudes changed later in life, and one of his greatest pleasures was to watch – rather than shoot and consume – the native birds in his garden, and he made efforts to reintroduce native species, including weka and kiwi, to the forest. When Moore died aged 85 in 1962, the house and land was bequeathed to Forest & Bird the same year. “You people must have the bush. You are the only people I can rely on who will ensure that the bush is preserved in perpetuity,” Moore is reported as saying shortly before his death. Farmers of Moore’s generation – and today – are often unfairly castigated as enemies of conservation, Allan (himself a farmer) says, and Moore’s foresight has preserved a precious piece of the region’s natural heritage that could never have been replaced if he had not protected it and it had been lost. “A lot of those early pioneers loved the bush – they were not all vandals,” Allan says. The burden of keeping up pest and weed control, and maintaining the large house and extensive gardens proved to be quite a heavy one, even for Forest & Bird’s ranks of enthusiastic volunteers, and the prospect of selling Bushy Park was raised several times. Its management was transferred to what is now the Bushy Park Trust in 1994, and today the house is leased and used for functions, a restaurant and accommodation, while thousands of visitors each year enjoy the park’s array of native flora and fauna, and learn more about them in its education centre. This year Bushy Park will celebrate the centennial of the homestead with a dinner on October 27, including a speech by “the Bug Man” Ruud Kleinpaste, followed by an open day on October 28. To commemorate the occasion, the trust is also publishing Weaving a Dream: The Bushy Park Experience, written by Wanganui historian Penny Robinson with the assistance of trust patron Stan Butcher. Copies of the limited edition book are available from the trust for $45.

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Eugenie Sage

Safeguarding our high country heritage View across freehold land on Richmond to Mt Gerald pastoral lease and up the Godley Valley towards Hall Range and the Southern Alps

Conservation values in the South Island high country face their biggest challenge with tenure review. Eugenie Sage makes the case for pressing the pause button so the government can deliver a better deal for conservation.

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IKE many New Zealanders, Forest & Bird Otago-Southland Field Officer Sue Maturin gets a special feeling about spending time in the South Island high country. The leader of Forest & Bird’s high country project team, she spends plenty of time out in these vast landscapes, and never loses the feeling that being there is a special privilege. “It is a sense of humbleness I guess – the vastness of scale puts us in our place,” she says. “Every place is special because it is so different. Sometimes you are looking at wonderful alpine flowers, other times you are looking up at great mountains, or watching falcons hunting, or puzzling about the remnants of shrublands and wondering what this landscape looked like before humans came.” However, these already vulnerable

30 FOREST & BIRD • NOVEMBER 2006

landscapes, ecosystems, flora and fauna of the high country are under increasing threat from privatisation under tenure review, prompting Forest & Bird to call for a moratorium on this process to ensure that conservation values are properly protected. Tenure review is a land “reform” process in which the government is reviewing South Island high country pastoral leases. Under tenure review, parts of the current leasehold properties go to the leaseholder as freehold land, while other parts become part of the conservation estate. The scale of privatisation under tenure review is huge: pastoral leases comprise 2.2 million hectares or 20% of the South Island, with 64% of the 304 pastoral lessees that existed in 2003 either now completed or involved in tenure review. While tenure review has yielded some exciting results in establishing high country conservation parks, the overall direction is disappointing, and is shortchanging conservation and the New Zealand public, Sue Maturin says. “The balance has tipped too far in favour of the leaseholders, and tenure review is not protecting some of the most threatened ecosystems in our high country. If we continue the way we are going, we are likely to lose most of the remaining native vegetation in the lowland valleys and basins.”

Sue Maturin says the problem is not the objective of the legislation governing tenure, but that officials are not implementing its intent or government policies which seek to protect the “significant inherent values” of the high country and “ensure that the conservation outcomes are consistent with the New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy”. She says a moratorium would allow a stock-take of tenure review and give time to amend the process to ensure that future tenure reviews will deliver adequate protection of indigenous biodiversity and landscapes by restoration to full Crown ownership and control, as required by law, and will result in fair financial returns to the Crown. The response from Lands Minister David Parker to Forest & Bird’s call in September for a moratorium was at least partly encouraging, Sue Maturin says. The minister acknowledged that there were concerns over the impact on landscape values, especially around lakes, and has demanded to see all tenure review proposals before they become final. However, he says that tenure review has achieved positive results. His confidence is not shared by the experts who have studied tenure review. A Landcare Research study into the impact of tenure review, made public in August, concludes that tenure review is not w w w. f o r e s t a n d b i r d . o r g . n z


protecting the most threatened habitats and biodiversity in the high country. “Land reform has privatised most land that is most vulnerable to habitat modification and rich in threatened plant species, while protecting land at least risk of biodiversity loss,” the report says. The study found that of the 128,000hectares (ha) of indigenous vegetation protected by tenure review, most (92%) was in the two lowest categories of risk to biodiversity, and just 0.2% was in the highest risk category. The report also says that privatisation of land will lead to increased destruction of habitats and plant and animal communities, and that alternative methods to tenure review are needed to protect conservation values. The Landcare study follows work by Fulbright scholar and Lincoln University lecturer Dr Ann Brower who concluded that the government is “complicit in giving away freehold title to New Zealand’s iconic high country, and paying the lessees to take it.” Information obtained under the Official Information Act reveals that the Crown is paying up to 188 times more for land than leaseholders even though the land is already in Crown ownership. The most recent tenure reviews, of Blairich in Marlborough’s Awatere Valley, and Richmond on the shores of Lake Tekapo, have heightened Forest & Bird’s concerns that the process is not yet adequately protecting conservation values. It is proposed that 92% of Blairich will go into private ownership and just 7% will be protected as public conservation land. The split will see 2941-ha freeholded, and just 230-ha protected as conservation land. An independent report for the Department of Conservation (DOC)

recommended two areas totalling 485-ha be protected as public conservation land. Virtually all of the northern slopes of Blairich Range, which have high landscape values, will become privately owned. This subalpine and montane area includes rock outcrops, special plants restricted to south Marlborough, habitat for lizards and the threatened New Zealand falcon. The land itself is steep, subject to erosion and continued grazing is not sustainable. An 85-ha area of indigenous shrublands and forest remnants on the southern faces of Hooper Ridge above Glen Craig Stream is also being freeholded. DOC’s independent ecological report describes it as “one of the best opportunities to protect a lowland area in this part of Marlborough, with considerable potential for regeneration of the original forest communities.” The deal now confirmed at Richmond is of equal concern. Of the 9567-ha property on the eastern shores of Lake Tekapo, the current leaseholder will get 5824-ha (64% of the property) as freehold land, including more than nine kilometres of lakefront land. The area to be freeholded includes snow tussock grasslands and diverse shrublands at the foot of the Richmond Range. The land has splendid views across Lake Tekapo and to the Southern Alps and is suitable for easy family walking, picnicking and mountain biking. The freeholded area also includes land on both sides of Coal River which flows into Lake Tekapo. The river provides habitat for four of New Zealand’s most threatened bird species – black stilt (kaki), wrybill (ngutuparore), black-fronted tern (tarapiroe) and black-billed gull (tarapunga). As the land is now privately owned up to the lower river, there is no

© Department of Conservation Te Papa Atawhai/Dick Veitch

The critically endangered black stilt (kaki) breeds on the Coal River which flows into Lake Tekapo.

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FOREST & BIRD • NOVEMBER 2006

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© Department of Conservation Te Papa Atawhai/Dick Veitch © Department of Conservation Te Papa Atawhai/Rod Morris

Alpine daisies like this common cotton daisy occupy every niche in the South Island high country.

© Department of Conservation Te Papa Atawhai/P Clerke

The native dragonfly, Uruoptala carovei, has a widespread distribution in the high country.

The spotted skink is thought to be present in the Richmond area which is also notable for its rich grasshopper habitat and diversity.

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© Department of Conservation Te Papa Atawhai/Colin Miskelly

The New Zealand pipit (pihoihoi) is at home in the high country where its flight display is a joy to see.

buffer to protect the birds’ riverine habitat from future intensive farm development or subdivision, against DOC’s strong recommendation. If tenure review continues as it has done so far, delivering deals like those seen at Blairich and Richmond, the high country, conservation, and New Zealanders will all be very much the losers, Sue Maturin says. Once privatised, the high country will have little protection against development and modification that will change its landscapes, habitats and plant and animal wildlife forever, she says. Under pastoral leases, leaseholders may use the land for extensive grazing, but need consent from the Commissioner of Crown Land for other activities such as burning, cultivation, bulldozing farm tracks, planting exotic forestry, commercial recreation or more intensive farming, and cannot subdivide the land. These restrictions have meant that, in general, pastoral leases have more indigenous vegetation remaining on them than equivalent freehold land. In many cases conservation would be better served if the land remained as pastoral lease land, as long as there are better mechanisms for protecting biodiversity values and new ways of providing for improved public access. Proceeding with tenure review is not always the best answer. The Crown needs to be prepared to pull out of tenure reviews that cannot deliver good conservation outcomes. Once former leasehold land passes into private ownership, there are few restrictions on its development. We could see much of our high country go from stunning vistas as seen in Lord of the Rings to suburban “McMansion” sprawl and intensive farming. “There is a risk that many of the threatened plants will become extinct in our lifetime,” Sue Maturin says. “Even during my own time in Otago, I have watched indigenous landscapes disappear and be replaced by ploughed land and houses.” “When you are out in the high country among huge landscapes dominated by native species, you get a sense of what New Zealand looked like before we humans arrived. When I’m travelling, part of what I conjure up in my mind as New Zealand and my sense of being a New Zealander is contained in those high country landscapes. We need to make sure that we do not lose that, because once it is gone, we can never get it back.” Eugenie Sage is Forest & Bird’s South Island Field Coordinator. w w w. f o r e s t a n d b i r d . o r g . n z


© Department of Conservation Te Papa Atawhai/Ross Henderson Michael Szabo

There are an estimated 200 kaka around Wellington thanks to pest control operations conducted by the regional council and DOC, Phormium cookianum flax has evolved in Weland the efforts of the Karori Wildlife Sanctuary lington has&smaller leaves with a tougher, and theand Forest Bird Wellington Branch. waxier protective coating.

Natural capital A flax flower brushes golden pollen on a tui as it feeds, Karori Wildlife Sanctuary.

Native birds are returning to Wellington City. Helen Bain finds out why.

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UTSIDE Forest & Bird’s central office window in Wellington City, a tui swoops and sings happily above three lanes of busy traffic. It seems an incongruous setting for a tui to make its home – and seemingly thrive – but more and more native birds are returning to Wellington City, largely as a result of efforts that have proved conservation isn’t just for remote wilderness areas, but has an important part to play in our urban centres too. It may be daunting to think about how much we have lost already – more than 99% of Wellington’s lowland rainforest has been destroyed – and will never regain, yet restoration of at least some w w w. f o r e s t a n d b i r d . o r g . n z

key parts of that lost heritage is not an impossible dream. According to “Natural Wellington”, a document drawn up by Forest & Bird’s Wellington Branch 15 years ago, no comprehensive botanical or wildlife surveys were done in the early days of European settlement, so we can’t know for sure the detail of pre-European Wellington ecosystems. We do know that most (about 60%) of Wellington was cloaked with coastal broadleaf rainforest dominated by kohekohe. Also common were karaka, nikau and ngaio, some rata, tawa and rewarewa, and a sprinkling of podocarps such as kahikatea and rimu. About 30% of the area was mixed lowland broadleaf/ podocarp forest in sheltered areas, with spectacular stands of rata, rimu, totara, miro and matai.

As much as 5% was swamp forest with stands of giant kahikatea, rimu and pukatea, cabbage trees, flax, raupo and toetoe, and the remaining 5% was saltmarsh and low coastal scrubland. This environment teemed with bird life – thousands of birds per hectare – and the dawn chorus would have been almost deafening. Tui, bellbirds (korimako), kereru, kokako, saddlebacks (tieke), whitehead (popokatea), robins (toutouwai), kaka, parakeets (kakariki) and even the now extinct huia were all abundant, and the coast and swamps teemed with native seabirds and waterfowl. Within 50 years of European settlement from 1840, the forest was practically gone. Clearance of land for farming, settlement and timber, draining of swamps, and an influx of rats and stoats quickly wrought irreparable damage. However, some “natural treasures” remained. Jim Lynch, former Wellington Forest & Bird Branch Chairman and now a Karori Wildlife Sanctuary trustee, was among those who saw the need to protect those few remaining treasures and use them to rebuild something of Wellington’s former natural riches. Natural Wellington set out a plan for what could be achieved. “All we need is the vision and the will to act to make it happen and give nature the opportunity and help to repair herself in her own way,” the document says. “Wellington could be an exceptionally beautiful rainforest city. The hills clothed in tall native bush with birds singing and FOREST & BIRD • NOVEMBER 2006

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2000 northern rata have been planted at Tinakori Hill in the past two years.

© Department of Conservation Te Papa Atawhai/Ross Henderson/David G Allen

The whitehead (popokatea) is one of the most abundant native birds at Karori Wildlife Sanctuary.

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Rod Morris

Dave Hansford © Department of Conservation Te Papa Atawhai/Ross Henderson/Shaun Barnett

Jonathan Russell, Berhampore Nursery Manager.

Stitchbirds (hihi) have been released at Karori Wildlife Sanctuary.

playing in the canopy. A place of true natural beauty for residents and visitors to enjoy. A wonderful natural complement to the city’s vibrant cultural, business and recreational life.” It seems ironic that the man who could be described as the godfather of conservation in Wellington City lives, for at least several days a week, in the ninth floor of an apartment block on The Terrace – it doesn’t get more inner city than this. “Natural Wellington was the progenitor of the whole thing, it has been so successful,” Jim Lynch says. “It started a movement. It became like the kaupapa for conservation in Wellington.” Coming from a business background, Jim Lynch approached planning for conservation in Wellington in the same way he would a business proposal. Natural Wellington’s “inventory of assets” identified 39 key sites – and how they should be preserved and expanded as part of a cohesive, city-wide plan. The Karori reservoir site was obviously the crème de la crème among them – an ideal site for one of the most ambitious predator-proof enclosures ever built on New Zealand’s mainland. Jim Lynch says Natural Wellington provided a focus for action that put in place much of the conservation initiatives in the city today, among them the Karori Wildlife Sanctuary. Natural Wellington had a simple theme: “bring back the birds”, Jim Lynch says, and today’s “tui plague” is the result. “When the Karori fence was closed in [1999] the tui population in Wellington went through the roof.” The survival rate of tui chicks inside the fence is 95% – compared to about 20% outside, Jim Lynch says, providing a safe haven in which the birds can breed, and then spill over into the surrounding city. City council bird counts in city

reserves from 2001 to 2006 already show significant increases in silvereye, tui, grey warbler and bellbird. Bellbirds, which had been absent from the Wellington Peninsula since 1953, were first recorded in the council’s counts in 2002 and have increased since. “The big prediction I will make is kaka,” Jim Lynch says. “We have about 200 kaka around the city now and I bet Wellington will have the biggest kaka population in the country in 10 years’ time.” Ralph Powlesland, a Department of Conservation (DOC) expert on birds in the urban landscape, says Wellington’s birds are on the increase, not just as overspill from predator-free sites such as Karori, and Kapiti and Matiu/Somes islands, but as a result of predator control in reserves. Birds from sanctuaries like Karori may be seen many kilometres away, particularly species like kaka, tui and whitehead. A paper by Colin Miskelly of DOC notes that one kaka reared at Karori Wildlife Sanctuary got as far as Mount Bruce National Wildlife Centre, 100 kilometres to the north, before returning. Miskelly’s paper concluded that kaka, red-crowned parakeets, whitehead and bellbird had established resident populations outside the reserve, and attributed their re-establishment to effective control of possums and rats. Ralph Powlesland says birds that are “generalists” – those who can travel long distances and aren’t too fussy about whether their food source and habitats are native or exotic, such as kereru and tui – are most likely to thrive in urban environments. “When tui turn up in people’s backyards for the first time ever, people get a real high from that, and they are more keen to get out and visit places that are real wilderness areas. Not everyone can handle an arduous walk to get to outw w w. f o r e s t a n d b i r d . o r g . n z


w w w. f o r e s t a n d b i r d . o r g . n z

Helen Bain is Forest & Bird’s Communications Officer.

Craig Potton

New Zealand’s native pigeon is also known as the kereru or the kukupa in Maori.

© Department of Conservation Te Papa Atawhai

The city council’s Greening the Quays project initially proposed to plant Norfolk pines along some of the main “gateway” roads into Wellington, but switched, in response to public demand, to Maori Princess pohutukawa instead. While pohutukawa is a New Zealand native, its natural range does not include Wellington. Some groups demanded that northern rata – a true Wellington native – be used, but shortage of supply meant pohutukawa were planted. In many areas around Wellington the ubiquitous exotic pine trees have blown down in storms and otherwise become hazardous, and are progressively being replaced with natives. Most prominent replanting can be seen on Tinakori Hill – the backdrop to Parliament – where 3000 northern rata have been planted in the last two years to replace storm-ravaged pines. In August, 200 eco-sourced rimu were planted on Tinakori Hill, and, with the help of natural regeneration of species such as ngaio, karamu and taupata, will contribute to the return of native forest close to the heart of the city, Jonathan Bussell says. “What we are aiming for, after just five or six years, is a self-sustaining site, with full vegetation cover and no further weed control required. My vision is for all our reserves and town belt to be covered in a beautiful green cloak of our special Wellington native forest.” Wellington resident Kevin Hackwell, who is leading Forest & Bird’s Restoring the Dawn Chorus campaign, says the capital is a great example of what can be achieved right around New Zealand. “Not only do we have the Karori Wildlife Sanctuary, we also have a variety of places around Wellington where effective pest control is allowing our native plant and bird life to recover – and everyone is noticing it,” he says. “If you can do all these amazing things in the capital city, you can achieve this sort of success all over the country.”

Karamu fruit is a food source for native birds. Forest & Bird Wellington Branch committee member Andrew Cutler sees the day when native birds will breed outside Parliament.

Dave Hansford

of-the-way places. Cities are creations by people for people, but people still want to be in touch with nature.” Jim Lynch says it is important that city-dwellers get to experience our native bird and plant life in their day-to-day existence. “What generates most energy is what people can see in their own backyard or just down the road. We should turn the question of why we should conserve nature in our cities and ask ‘why not in a city?’ Most forests on the West Coast don’t have as many birds as we have in Wellington,” he says. “You’re not trying to restore it to something you had 1000 years ago – you never will. You are just trying to establish a few key values. The city was just so bad, such a mess – and the turnaround has been so spectacular.” Andrew Cutler, Forest & Bird Wellington Branch committee member and Greater Wellington Regional Council strategic communications manager, says in the last decade the council has become much more involved in conservation in the urban area. “Attitudes have really changed. Residents and local authorities can now see that it isn’t just a green thing, but that there is also a civic, social and economic benefit to the city,” Andrew Cutler says. “The challenge is where do we go from here? What can we add? What is our vision for Wellington for the next 20 years?” He believes intensification of pest control will be key to the next step. While birds can breed safely inside Karori’s fence, once they start breeding outside they are highly vulnerable to predation. Intensive pest control throughout the city could see native birds breed in greater safety everywhere. Andrew Cutler even envisages birds breeding among the native planting in the grounds of that quintessentially Wellington institution, Parliament, if bait stations could be set up. The birds will soon find no shortage of native trees in which to nest and feed. Wellington City Council’s Berhampore Nursery Manager Jonathan Bussell says there has been a huge increase in ecosourced plants in the city’s reserves and town belts – this year he has overseen the planting of 55,000 of them. Plants that have evolved in Wellington’s notoriously windswept environs are “bombproof,” he says. Phormium cookianum flax that has evolved in Wellington has smaller leaves with a tougher, waxier protective coating. Flax “imports” often end up shredded when transplanted in Wellington, while the genuine “locals” thrive.

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Scandrett Regional Park

Mike Lee

Chairman Mike Helen Bain talks to Auckland Regional Council Chairman Mike Lee and regional councillor Sandra Coney about the future of conservation in the City of Sails.

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MONG the paperwork on Mike Lee’s desk he keeps a small Knights Templar figurine. “That’s a reminder to me not to waver,” he explains. “To be staunch when the pressure comes on.” The Auckland Regional Council (ARC) Chairman had certainly needed his little white knight’s help the week of our interview – a week he spent fighting off a bid by Auckland’s four big-city mayors to abolish the regional council and replace it with a “super-city”. Mike Lee says such a plan would be disastrous for conservation and the environment in the Auckland region. With a “super-city” calling the shots, prime coastal land currently within the ARC’s hard won network of regional parks would come under pressure to be opened up for commercial exploitation, he says. City and district councils face intense lobbying pressure from developers, with whom they have direct relationships, while the ARC is more objectively placed to consider the best interests of the region and the environment, Mike Lee says. “We have to be the independent watchdog that can say ‘this is not a good

36 FOREST & BIRD • NOVEMBER 2006

idea’ when that is the case. That’s the ecological niche we occupy in politics … That is something that the mayors, thinking of themselves as Aucklanders – even as New Zealanders – should appreciate: that there is a watchdog, a jolly green giant or whatever.” During Mike Lee’s tenure on the council he has been involved in the acquisition of thousands of hectares of land that has been added to Auckland’s network of regional parks that now comprises about 40,000 hectares and includes 150-km of coastline. “People are very grumpy about rates, especially in Auckland, but one thing we are very confident about, of all activities parkland and coastal land are things people don’t mind spending money on.” Putting that investment in nature at risk from inappropriate development under a new “super-city” set up would be very unwise, he warns, pointing out that under what he calls the “less environmentallyminded” regional council of the mid1990s, “not a square inch [of parkland] was bought”. That there is still much work to be done in restoring Auckland’s natural habitats is a task the former Forest & Bird activist relishes. As the founding chairman of Forest & Bird’s Hauraki Islands Branch and Great Barrier Island Section in the early 1980s, and the instigator of the rescue of the last two kokako on Great Barrier Island, Mike Lee says he has not strayed far from his conservationist roots in his current role. “I am still driven by exactly the same impulses as when we pulled together the Waiheke Section in 1982,” he says, twiddling with his Knights Templar figurine. “I see this job as like being a super-size branch chairman.” The biggest conservation challenge facing Auckland is restoring and reconnecting its fragmented habitats so native birds and plants can return, he says. He sees the ecological restoration of Rangitoto and Motutapu as a vital next step. It’s a goal he has advocated for since coming into politics in 1992, and which is at last getting off the ground now the Department of Conservation has allocated $595,000 to eradicate introduced pests from the islands over the next three years.

Restoring these inner Hauraki Gulf islands as reservoirs of native flora and fauna so close to New Zealand’s largest population centre will be key to bringing nature back to Auckland, he believes. “If we can establish pest-free islands in the Gulf, and sanctuaries in Auckland like Ark in the Park, and natural areas in the city and suburbs, we can really start to make a difference. Aucklanders will be able to hear moreporks at night and bellbirds by day. Why not?” “The re-appearance of native birds would be the harbinger of environmental health. They would not only expand biodiversity, they would improve quality of life. We look after the birds, and they look after us.” Though greatly reduced, Auckland’s natural ecosystems are still functioning to some extent, and it is from these remnants that much can be rebuilt, he says. Further initiatives he wants to see in future include the expansion of protected areas, intensification of predator and weed control in the regional parks, creation of new marine reserves, and the greening of the rail corridors with native plants. These will all help “join the dots” between Auckland’s remaining natural assets in the Hunua Ranges to the south, the Waitakere Ranges to the west, and the Hauraki Gulf islands along the east coast. Together, they will help restore a more cohesive whole. “I saw a kereru flying over the Harbour Bridge the other day. I look forward to the day when we have kereru in Queen Street. I see no reason why we cannot treat the city as a natural area. The city should be integrated into the natural world as much as possible.” Once predator eradication is achieved on Rangitoto and Mototapu, Mike Lee is setting his sights on wiping out pests on Great Barrier Island as “the final big push”. “Eradication on Great Barrier is the Holy Grail of wildlife sanctuary creation because it is so vast – 28,000 hectares. It will certainly take some doing, but in 10 years time we should realistically be looking at having every island in the Hauraki Gulf on target towards becoming rat-free – including Waiherke Island – and by then have Rangitoto and Motutapu absolutely flourishing.” w w w. f o r e s t a n d b i r d . o r g . n z


of her father Tom Pearce, a former ARC chairman who served from 1965 to 1976. “During his tenure they acquired their first park,” she says. “He was very supportive of parks, so I sort of grew up with that and as I got older I wanted to get involved with environmental and local issues – it was kind of like going back to my roots.” She is keen to progress the council’s ongoing programme of property purchases to provide conservation and public recreation land – despite the increasing Sandra Coney challenges posed by skyrocketing prices of coastal land. Stopping the loss of green spaces is crucial to maintaining a city that is attractive and healthy to live in, she says. “As Auckland intensifies its urban areas, we are losing green spaces and trees. We have to think about making greater provision for public open space and green ETTING stuck in is something spaces in our cities. You just have to go up Sandra Coney knows all about, having just spent “five hours on my in a helicopter to see how we are gobbling up land and trees and plants.” hands and knees” weeding a community Places like Ark in the Park – a flagship planting at Piha. Sandra Coney has represented Waitakere restoration project for both ARC and Forest & Bird in the Waitakere Ranges – are on the Auckland Regional Council very important for keeping city-dwellers in (ARC) since 2001 and chaired its Parks touch with nature, Sandra Coney says. and Heritage Committee for two years, “People are appreciating visiting a park bringing to the job a passion for restoring that is not too remote where they can Auckland’s green space. Happy Feet_F&B 10/20/06 4:56 PM Page 1 experience a huge wealth of bird sounds In a way she is continuing the legacy

Coney counsel

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compared to what was there previously. It certainly enhances the visitor experience.” She says Aucklanders are becoming much more aware of their environment, but much still needs to be done to educate people about how they can make a difference. “People need to take more ownership and realise they can do a lot themselves, particularly in urban areas. We need to engender a kind of passion among urban people that they can restore their environment and make it a more attractive place to live.” ARC projects on the horizon Sandra Coney is involved in include: • Reviewing buildings in Auckland’s parks to improve public access and use. • Applying for Auckland’s parks to be protected in perpetuity. • Preparing for a kiwi release at Tawharanui Regional Park. • Looking at how the council can support government plans to eradicate pests from Motutapu and Rangitoto. • Investigating establishment of a buffer zone around the coastal areas facing the Hauraki Gulf to eradicate the many weeds currently infesting the area. • Supporting Transit’s replanting of transport corridors with native plants, and planning to start similar efforts along rail corridors.

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Ken Scott

goingplaces

Great Barrier/Aotea Island Tim Higham explores this spectacular wilderness area just 100 km north-east of downtown Auckland.

Site description

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ULBERRY Grove Primary School is helping Department of Conservation (DOC) ranger Joanna Sim count brown teal on Great Barrier/Aotea Island. “Forty eight,” declares one student. “I’ve got 50,” says another. “It pays to count them several times,” Joanna Sim says, as several more teal emerge from wet pasture to chase each other across the tidal creek. Joanna Sim has been following the fortunes of brown teal for the past year. She’s grown attached to pateke – the Maori name for one of the world’s rarest ducks (population 1200, two thirds of which are on Great Barrier/Aotea Island). Despite the close attention paid to them by researchers many of their habits remain a mystery: though hundreds can be seen at summer flock sites such as Whangapoua estuary, radio tracking suggests others are reclusive, staying in the wetland gullies of surrounding farmland throughout the year. DOC’s approach to managing pateke and the island’s other threatened species is one of close collaboration with local farmers, iwi and the mainly conservationminded community. Its visitor facilities

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enable trampers and campers to encounter a fauna and flora much richer than we are used to on the “mainland”. Absent from Great Barrier are many of the most damaging introduced predators: stoats, weasels, ferrets, Norway rats, hedgehogs, possums and deer. Constant vigilance is needed to guard against accidental introductions which is why holiday-makers are asked by DOC to leave their pets at home. From camping areas near the Whangapoua estuary, the beautiful, and isolated Harataonga Bay, and Awana and Medlands beaches, visitors should get to see not just pateke, but New Zealand dotterels (tuturiwhatu), variable oystercatchers (torea), banded dotterels (pohowera) and wrybills (ngutuparore). Whangapoua estuary itself is one of the country’s most important sites for wading birds where careful observation with binoculars or a bird-spotting telescope during spring or summer may reveal Arctic migrant birds such as Pacific golden plovers, bar-tailed godwits (kuaka) and sharp-tailed sandpipers. The island’s coastal landscapes are stunning and varied: sweeping eastcoast surf beaches separated by rugged headlands and rock pinnacles, and sheltered “fiord-like” western harbours – Port Fitzroy, Whangaparapara, Blind Bay and Tryphena – which are popular with yachties over summer. The relative abundance of kaka means our native forest parrot is regularly seen in

Kaitoke wetlands and Mt Hobson/Hirakimata summit skyline.

flowering pohutukawa, flax and kowhai, sometimes forming a welcome cacophony for visitors arriving by boat. In the evening moreporks (ruru) often hawk for puriri moths around the harbour lights at Port Fitzroy and Tryphena. The 40-kilometre (km) long island was named by Captain James Cook for the protection it provides to the eastern Hauraki Gulf. Its geology, fauna and flora are linked to that of the Coromandel Peninsula, which it was separated from as sea levels rose at the end of the last ice age. Its large (285 square kilometre) size and central location among a chain of ratfree conservation islands in the Hauraki Gulf make Great Barrier a strategic bridge for bird populations, and it offers huge conservation potential if ship rats, kiore (Pacific rats) and feral cats are eradicated here in future. Ngati Rehua – a hapu of Ngati Wai – whalers, loggers, miners, fishers, farmers and alternative lifestylers have all made the island home. Today there are about 800 permanent residents, mainly clustered around the settlements of Tryphena, Claris and Okiwi, who are reliant on their own energy, water and sewage systems, as there are no reticulated services on the island. Sixty percent of the island is managed as conservation estate and nature-based tourism is increasingly important to the economy. The island is clothed in kanuka and regenerating broadleaf, rimu and kauri w w w. f o r e s t a n d b i r d . o r g . n z


© Department of Conservation Te Papa Atawhai

Rod Morris

Adult chevron skink (niho taniwha)

Black petrel (taiko)

Brown teal (pateke)

Michael Szabo

© Department of Conservation Te Papa Atawhai/ Terry Greene

Hebe macrocarpa latifolia is endemic.

forest, most of which was saw-milled at the end of the nineteenth century, though small patches of remnant forest remain. It has several endemic plant species – Great Barrier kanuka, Kunzea sinclairii, Great Barrier daisy, Olearia allomii; and a hebe, Hebe macrocarpa latifolia – and significant, unmodified coastal dune systems dominated by pingao. Great Barrier’s highest peak is Mount Hobson or Hirakimata (621 metres), where the presence of peaty soil under native yellow-silver pine forest enables the black petrel or taiko to breed. Only 2000 pairs of this large seabird remain on Great Barrier and Little Barrier/Hauturu islands, as its once common burrows became easy targets for introduced predators on the main islands. Traveling around the 65-kms of island roads visitors should also have a chance to see banded rail (moho pereru) – a species that is similar to weka but smaller – scuttling into fern and scrub from farmland. Observant bush walkers have the chance of seeing kereru, tui, fantail (piwakawaka), grey warbler (riroriro), kingfisher (kotare), tomtit (miromiro), long-tailed cuckoo (koekoea) and shining cuckoo (pipiwharauroa). The Hot Springs Track, skirting the large and significant Kaitoke wetland, is a good place for the patient observer to see shy wetland species such as Australasian bittern (matuku) and fernbird (matata). Among the rarer species are bellbirds w w w. f o r e s t a n d b i r d . o r g . n z

(korimako), which are occasional visitors from Little Barrier Island, the redcrowned parakeet (kakariki), particularly around Okiwi, and New Zealand robin (toutouwai), which have been released at the Little Windy Hill and Glenfern sanctuaries. Thirteen species of lizard inhabit the island, including the country’s longest and one of the rarest, the chevron skink. With distinct alternating brown and white arrowhead markings this skink is known to local Maori as niho taniwha, meaning “teeth of the taniwha”. Growing up to 30 centimetres (cm) long the skinks are most often seen near streams and are sometimes encountered along Warrens Track near Port Fitzroy and the Hot Springs track. DOC is always keen to hear of any new sightings. Visitors traveling to Great Barrier Island from Auckland on the scenic four-and-a-half hour ferry trip have a good chance of seeing seabirds from the deck, including sooty shearwaters (titi), black petrels (taiko), Cook’s petrels (titi), Buller’s shearwaters, flesh-footed shearwaters, white-faced storm petrels and New Zealand storm petrels. Pods of common and bottlenose dolphins (aihe) are often seen on the journey while orca, pilot, sei and Bryde’s whale sightings are also possible. Diving Australasian gannets (takapu)and rafts of little blue penguins (korora) are also sometimes seen on the approach to the island. FOREST & BIRD • NOVEMBER 2006

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REAT Barrier Island is a great Kiwi summer holiday destination. There are over 100 kms of walking track, ranging from short walks on wellformed tracks to longer more rugged tramping routes. The Kaitoke Hot Springs Track is a popular one hour walk that starts on the Whangaparapara Road and skirts the Kaitoke Swamp, with boardwalk over wetland sections. A series of pools have been created in the stream bed, warmed by sulphurous hot water. Another popular walk skirts the coastline between Whangapoua Estuary and Harataonga Bay, providing views over Rakitu Island, and takes about five hours. The old forest road between the Whangaparapara Road and Port Fitzroy doubles as an arterial tramping route and mountain bike track. Many tramping tracks branch off the road, creating multi-day walking opportunities through the island hinterland to kauri dam remains and an old whaling station at Whangaparapara and Mount Hirakimata. There are campsites at the Port Fitzroy and Whangaparapara end of the forest road and a centrally located Kaiaraara Hut. Biking it takes 2-3 hours, through stands of kauri, with several climbs and descents to boulder stream beds. The climb to the lookout near the junction with the Kiwiriki Track is worth the stop for the panoramic views over inner Port

Fitzroy, Whangaparapara and Blind Bay. Mount Hirakimata is the focal point for longer walks and can be reached from three main directions. The most popular starts at a car park near the summit of the Whangapoua Hill/Aotea Road. A short climb leads to Windy Canyon lookout, with boardwalk and ladders through steep bluffs with spectacular views. The track then follows a rolling ridgeline giving vistas over the Whangapoua Estuary and passing the endemic daisy, Olearia allomi, and native orchids. The final climb through mature forest is quite steep and demanding, ending with a section of boardwalk near the summit that helps protect the black petrel burrows in the area. These seabirds are sometimes seen on the track from October and May (where they should not be handled) and summer visitors may meet DOC staff weighing chicks and checking banded birds as part of their annual surveys. The view from the top looking west over the coast is stunning on a clear day. The island is also a fantastic destination for sea kayaking, and there are few days when at least one side of the island won’t offer conditions suitable for paddling. On the east coast good launch spots are opposite the campground on Medlands Beach, in the lee of a small headland, and from Harataonga Beach, after paddling down the creek from the campsite.

Tim Higham

Where and when to go

Great Barrier/Aotea Island is the world centre for brown teal (pateke) with 60% of the entire population.

It is not unusual to encounter dolphins on either side of the island. Kayaks can be hired from the beach at Mulberry Grove near Tryphena from Aotea Rentals, or from the bridge over the Kaitoke Stream, just north of Claris. It is also worth taking a dive mask as there are excellent snorkeling opportunities. Tim Higham lives on Great Barrier/Aotea Island and has previously worked for the United Nations Environment Programme, Environment Canterbury, Antarctica New Zealand and the Department of Conservation.

Fact file: Great Barrier/Aotea Island

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OURISM Auckland has recently published a comprehensive guide and directory of services on the island, available at www.greatbarriernz.com, or 0800 AUCKLAND. Sealink’s Eco Islander car and passenger ferry departs daily from Jervois Key, Auckland, over summer – www.sealink. co.nz – with stops in Port Fitzroy and Tryphena. Great Barrier Airlines and Mountain Air offer several half-hour flights each day from Auckland airport to strips at Claris and Okiwi, and there are albeit less frequent services from North Shore, Whangarei, Coromandel, Waiheke and Tauranga. As well as the six DOC campgrounds there are several private campgrounds, and accommodation ranging from backpackers to luxury lodges. The Stray Possum Lodge, near the wharf

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at Tryphena, is popular with budget travelers, and there are many smaller cottages, set in private, natural surrounds. Island Stay, run by David Speir, is suited to tramping parties or larger groups (www.islandstay.co.nz), and Tony Bouzaid’s Fitzroy House (www. fitzroyhouse.co.nz) caters for lovers of comfort and nature. Great Barrier Buses offers multiday passes that enable walkers to be dropped off and picked up anywhere on the island’s tramping circuits. Several car rental companies cater for visitors wanting to travel independently around the island.

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Whangapoua Beach

Port Fitzroy

Hirakimata (Mt Hobson)

Claris

General stores and fuel supplies are available at Tryphena, Claris, Whangaparapara and Port Fitzroy. A rubbish barge is located in Port Fitzroy Harbour, near Man O’ War Bay, during the summer months, to service yachtbased visitors.

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Your Beneficiaries There are more of them than you realise!

The Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society has always understood the vital connection between people and nature. By including a bequest to the Society in your will, you can help ensure a brighter future for both. To make a bequest, please use the following language in your will: I give to the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society of New Zealand Incorporated a _____% share of my Estate (or the sum of $___________) for its general purposes. A receipt given on behalf of the Society will be a complete discharge to my trustees for the gift. To find out more, contact us for a free brochure. Sarah Crawford, Membership Administrator, Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society of New Zealand Incorporated, PO Box 631, Wellington, Freephone 0800 200 064 Email: s.crawford@forestandbird.org.nz

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FOREST & BIRD • NOVEMBER 2006

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Itinerant Ecologist – Geoff Park

A pilgrimage to Big Trees

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Sara McIntyre

ARLY morning in Yosemite National Park’s Mariposa Grove. The Indian summer’s sun is already on the tops of the great trees as we leave the car park, striking out before the first of the tourists. By the time we reach the upper grove it’s warming the ground, filling the scene with coniferous sweetness, and the towering trunks are glowing like giant lustrous cinnamon sticks. They’re the same trees that John Muir, the grand architect of wilderness preservation, camped beneath soon after he first came to his beloved Sierra Nevada in California. Here, in 1868, “in worship amid the glorious columns of this mountain temple” he discovered “the majesty and grandeur of nature undisturbed.” Here too, 35 years later, just before he travelled to see “the magnificent New Zealand forests” Muir camped with US President Theodore Roosevelt on the first night of a trip that would firm the place of forests and watersheds, and the national park idea, in the North American consciousness. It was the publication of Our National Parks in 1901, and the lyrical way in which Muir expressed his delight at the growing American tendency “to wander in wilderness” – it is believed – that brought him to Roosevelt’s attention. “Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people,” he wrote in introduction, “are beginning to find that wildness is a necessity; and that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life … This is fine and natural and full of promise. So also is the growing interest in the care and preservation of forests.” It has become a tradition of North American nature writing since Muir, but in 1901 it was novel stuff indeed. When Roosevelt toured the American West in 1903, he asked Muir to camp with him in Yosemite. There, around a fire beneath the ancient Mariposa sequoias, they laid the foundation of a programme in which Roosevelt established 148 million acres of National Forest, five National Parks and 23 National Monuments in his term of office. Lying beneath the giant sequoias in the warmth of the morning sun, the little Douglas squirrels that John Muir so admired darting inquiringly around my feet, as they would have Muir’s and Roosevelt’s, it is tempting to imagine that

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Big Trees (Sequoia dendron gigateum), Mariposa Grove, Yosemite, National Park, Sierra Nevada, California. w w w. f o r e s t a n d b i r d . o r g . n z


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first Egyptian penetrated the valley of the Euphrates, which it has taken so many thousands of years to build up ... There is nothing more practical in the end than the preservation of beauty.” Muir, for his part, wrote how the oldest sequoias took more than 3000 years to make: “Trees that are still standing in perfect strength and beauty, waving and singing in the mighty forests of the Sierra. Through all the eventful centuries since Christ’s time, and long before that, God has cared for these trees, saved them from drought, disease, avalanches and a thousand storms; but he cannot save them from sawmills and fools; this is left to the American people.” It is in this sense that the Mariposa Grove is about more than John Muir and its trees’ extraordinary antiquity. A great notion was seeded here. A treasuring of wild nature that would soon take New Zealand in its embrace. Evening’s approach, with the lowering sun shafting through the great red towers, brings the urge to do as Muir did; “Saunter to the heart of the grove, make a bed of sequoia plumes and ferns by the side of the stream, gather a store of firewood, and then walk about until sundown.” But you’re likely to be arrested if you try it today. Even in Muir’s time there was a shelter for those who didn’t want to risk the night with cougars and bears. Inside the log-andstone cabin, the Mariposa Grove Museum, that stands on the same site today, a display tells you you’re “on the spot where national parks began”, how, on 30 June 1864, US President Abraham Lincoln signed into law a bill to protect Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Grove as North America’s “first protected natural area”. It is why I’ve come here, across the Pacific and the industrial agricultural grid of the San Joaquin Valley, and up into the Sierra’s wild woods. I’d long known the national park idea as a product of the American West, but I’d accepted what I’d been told: that New Zealand’s first park, Tongariro, was modeled on one conceived just 17 years before, in 1870, around a campfire at Yellowstone in the North American Rocky Mountains. Then, reading Simon Schama’s wonderful book, Landscape and Memory, I learned otherwise; that a forest of colossal trees was at the root of the idea. As the environmental historian Al Runte has pointed out, although the birthplace of the national park idea has traditionally been considered to be Yellowstone, the model pointing the way to its protection had been conceived long before in Yosemite. And while the stunning, transcendental beauty of Yosemite’s Valley was a vital part, it was, as Schama says “the sense that the grove of Big Trees was some sort of living American monument, a botanical

pantheon, that moved Lincoln and the Congress … in the midst of the Civil War … to act as they did.” The finding of the trees the Ahwahneechee called wah-no-nah was a by-product of the California gold rush. In 1855, a mining-camp hunter in the hills above Yosemite came across three monstrous trees of the same giant sequoia that had been found three years before not far away on the Sierra slope at Calaveras. In May, 1857, Galen Clark, who had been keeping an eye out for them, came over a ridge and into a grove of over 500 trees towering over 200 feet above him. He named it the Mariposa Grove, and cut a trail to them as an added attraction for the tourists who were by then regularly visiting Yosemite Valley. Among those who Clark guided to the great trees were the pioneer landscape photographers Charles Weed and Carlton Watkins and the painter Albert Bierstadt. Their images would became critical in the case for the grove’s preservation, in an America wracked by civil war and in which conservation was virtually an unknown word. It was Galen Clark who built the cabin where today’s Mariposa Museum stands. There is a rumbling outside as the first of the trams that all day will bring tourists up through the grove, stops and disgorges its load. I slip away through exclamations of awe and camera clickings to an old tree that had caught my eye. None too big, it’s lying, prone, probably just as Clark and Muir knew it, the charcoaled scar of the long-ago fire that felled it glistening with tiny annual rings. It’s many years since I practiced the dendrochronological art, and never on a tree of this age, but Muir’s counting up to 4000 rings in the largest and oldest sequoia stump he ever saw, is urging me to do so. I count to the thudding of cones on the road behind me, not paying much notice until one lands alongside. Picking it up, I place it beside me on the railing while I calculate my estimate. Just over three metres in diameter, less than most of the sequoia nearby, the great majority of rings in the order of a millimetre; that’s over 1500 years, more than the time span of New Zealand’s human settlement. Then from beside me I hear a chattering, admonishing in tone, almost a scream. Legs splayed in confrontation, a tiny squirrel – John Muir’s favourite, the Douglas – is glaring at me. Perhaps 90% of Big Tree cones, Muir estimated, are cut off, gathered up and tucked away by Douglas squirrels, and this one doesn’t want Douglas me appropriating squirrel his morning harvest. Sara McIntyre

their great towers of life influenced it; that it needed their extraordinary antiquity for it to happen. Muir, himself one of the first to realise what Mariposa’s Big Trees meant in time terms, would have undoubtedly regaled Roosevelt with the facts of the matter. While a few New Zealand kauri like Waipoua’s Tane Mahuta rival it for basal circumference, the Big Tree, Sequoiadendron giganteum, is the world’s largest in terms of total wood volume; its lowland relative, the coastal redwood, Sequoia sempervirens, the world’s tallest. The Big Trees cannot come near their coastal kin in height though; their ancient tops are so often lightning blasted. Nonetheless, they are still among the loftiest living things, and other than bristlecone pine, the longest living trees, commonly reaching over 3000-years-old. It is this combination of so huge a tree and of such longevity which evokes reverential awe; thus have Sierra’s giant sequoia forests been called temples and compared with cathedrals. Yosemite’s indigenous people, the Ahwahneechee, considered the giant sequoia, wah-no-nah, sacred too. They tried to persuade the pioneer sawyers to spare them, and warned teamsters hauling sequoia lumber of the bad luck that would visit them. Like most of his contemporaries who shaped the national park idea though, John Muir had little time for Yosemite’s indigenous people, notwithstanding that the Yosemite he eulogised, the Big Trees groves included, only appeared so timeless and Edenic, and untouched, because for thousands of years the Ahwahneechee had been firing, keeping big, wild fires out and promoting growth for the wild animals they hunted. If there was a human time frame to set the Big Trees against it was not, in late nineteenth century North America, going to be an indigenous one. As John Muir liked to say, he’d counted the rings on Big Trees that had been in their prime “at the beginning of the Christian era”. “The great age of these noble trees,” he wrote in Our National Parks, “is even more wonderful than their huge size, standing bravely up millennium in, millennium out, to all that fortune may bring them, triumphant over tempest and fire and time, fruitful and beautiful, giving food and shelter to multitudes of small creatures dependent on their bounty … No other known tree approaches the Sequoia in grandeur, height and thickness … and none as far as I know has looked down on so many centuries or opens up such impressive and suggestive views into history.” It was that, perhaps, which had Roosevelt saying, in a lecture soon after his trip with Muir, how he felt “most emphatically that we should not turn into shingles a tree which was old when the

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in the field

A forest of flowers During the summer months our native forests produce a myriad of delicate flowers. We just don’t see most of them for the trees. From the dainty native fuschia to the dazzling pohutukawa they offer a feast of nectar and pollen for native birds, lizards and insects. Words by Ann Graeme. Illustrations by Tim Galloway.

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HANCES are when you walk in a native forest you’ll think ‘green’. You probably won’t think ‘flowers’. But the next time you find yourself in native forest take a moment to reflect on the vital job that flowers do in producing fertile seeds. Given that plants can’t move like animals can, they employ agents to pollinate their flowers, to carry the sperm, wrapped in a pollen grain, to the ovaries. Flowers are adapted, often in very sophisticated ways, to attract various pollen carriers. It is these adaptations that make us notice native flowers – or overlook them. There are a few more showy flowering trees such as the crimson pohutukawa, scarlet rata and golden cascades of the kowhai. But their bright colours are not adaptations to attract the human eye, but to lure animal pollinators with the promise of a reward of nectar or pollen. Although these flowers attract insects, their main targets are birds and lizards,

animals which can see the spectrum of colours that we can see. They – like us – find yellow and red particularly attractive. In these flowers, the pollen-producing stamens are arranged so that they daub the head of any visiting bird or lizard which comes to poke its tongue down to the nectar at the base. During summer when flax is in flower you may notice the yellow-orange pollen-coated crowns of silvereyes (tauhou), tui, bellbirds (korimako) and even sparrows! Some of that pollen will brush off on the stigmas of the next flower that the bird visits, making them unwitting pollinators. And it is no accident that these flowers lack scent, for birds have excellent sight but little sense of smell. Now consider the flowers of clematis, manuka, the little native daisies and the sweet-scented bells of mingimingi (Cyathodes fasciculata). They are not brightly coloured, nor are they flamboyant. But then flamboyance is wasted on a beetle and these flowers are

pollinated by beetles, ants and moths. Beetles and ants have simple eyes which can only perceive movement and shades of grey and white. They don’t have the sophisticated vision of a bee or a butterfly which can see a rainbow of colours including some in the long-wave spectrum like ultraviolet – colours which we humans can’t see. And as for moths, they fly at night when the world is dark and colours become shades of grey. White is the colour most visible at night and most obvious to insects with monochromatic vision. White are the petals of manuka, clematis, hinau and tawari, and a host of alpine daisies and other flowers. Cream is the colour of cabbage tree, kohekohe, karaka and native jasmine flowers. Beetles and moths may be lacking in vision but they make up for it in their ability to smell. Their antennae are adept at detecting chemical messages. Many native flowers are scented and their scent is particularly strong during the night, when their insect customers are about. If you go into your garden on a summer evening you will be assailed by the perfume of the cabbage trees, the mahoe or the kohuhu, with its small, dark-red flowers. The tiny hangehange flowers smell sweetly of honey but the equally small flowers of mahoe have a scent so strong as to be disagreeable. Presumably it is quantity, not quality of scent that matters to a moth!

A frieze of flowers – rata, kowhai, fuchsia, manuka, clematis, hinau, kawakawa, karamu, and tussock grass flower

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Not all native flowers cater to the whims of animal pollinators. Many rely on the wind, and the wind doesn’t notice colour or scent. All that such a flower needs to do is hold out lots of light pollen grains so the wind can carry them away. This is the strategy of native beech trees and pukatea, of shrubs like kawakawa, karamu and of all the grasses. Windpollinated flowers have little or no petals and, except for the flags of toetoe, are so insignificant you may scarcely have noticed them. Generally, we judge flowers by our own aesthetic sense of beauty. We often forget that, to the plants, we are a Johnny-comelately species, unimportant because we are not agents of pollination. Every flower, big or small, plain or pretty to us, is effective in attracting its pollen couriers or in accommodating the biggest courier of them all – the wind.

Native bees Bees are very important insect pollinators but the honey bees we are familiar with are not native to New Zealand. Our native bees are small and solitary and, while they play a part, our native flowers depended for pollination much more upon the multitude of moths, beetles and ants. On a hot summer day you can see native bees visiting the flowers of pohutukawa and manuka. These bees are smaller and darker than introduced honey bees.

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branchingout

The great contorta campaign comes to an end

S Michael Szabo

OMETIMES it is good not to be wanted any longer. After more than 40 years removing wilding Pinus contorta from Ruapehu, most intensively since 1984, when wilding pines were put to the chainsaw, the battle has largely been won and Forest & Bird’s assistance is no longer required. The density of trees is now so low that three weekends’ work by tramping clubs should be sufficient to deal with the remaining ones. Until recent years, working parties were used on most weekends over the summer months, but the drop in wilding pine numbers has been dramatic. All the mature trees in Karioi forest have been milled, at long last, removing the seed source. The last wilding may never be found, but in future an annual helicopter sweep to locate the few missed in earlier sweeps will be all that is required. Fortunately, fears that the seed would remain viable in the ground for decades have proved to be baseless. Forest & Bird Waikato Branch first got involved 23 years ago in what has been jockingly called the ‘aborta contorta’ campaign, at the suggestion of its then secretary, Bev Woolley. The Ruapehu Ski Club had

L-R: General Manager Mike Britton, Conservation Minister Chris Carter and Communications Officer Helen Bain at the Pataka launch.

Making conservation everybody’s business

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ITTLE steps can make a difference – that’s the message Forest & Bird got out to the public during Conservation Week this year. Forest & Bird had a display and activities at “Our Big Backyard – Conservation Week” at Pataka, one of the biggest Conservation Week events held nationwide, which was launched by Conservation Minister Chris Carter in August. Forest & Bird Communications Officer Laura Richards says the event was a great opportunity to let the thousands of visitors know about the local projects Forest & Bird branches are involved with in the region and how everyone can do something for the environment – including joining Forest & Bird or the Kiwi Conservation Club. “It was a fantastic opportunity to put people in touch with ways they can contribute to conservation in their own backyards and to let them know about local conservation projects that Forest & Bird branches are involved with such

as at Pauatahanui Inlet, Mana Island and Matiu/Somes Island,” she says. Forest & Bird also had a highly visible presence at Wellington Public Library during Conservation Week, with a banner display promoting the Save Our Sealions petition, and took part in “Conservation Week at the Cathedral” at St Paul’s Cathedral, Wellington. The Department of Conservation’s theme for Conservation Week was “Conservation is everybody’s business.” More than 100 public events were held during the week to celebrate New Zealand’s unique flora and fauna. Chris Carter says the theme sought to provoke people to think about how conservation enriches their lives in many different ways and how land and resources must be used in a sustainable way. “Everybody has a stake and plays an important role in the ongoing protection of our land and its people.” Helen Bain

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OREST & Bird Manawatu Branch has raised concerns about the siting of a proposed wind farm in the Turitea Reserve near Palmerston North. Palmerston North City Council has proposed an amendment of the Turitea Reserve Management Plan that would allow Mighty River Power to build a wind farm in the reserve. Branch Chairman Brent Barrett says Forest & Bird

supports renewable forms of energy generation such as wind power, but a forest reserve is an inappropriate site. The proposal would allow Mighty River Power to build up to 60 wind turbines more than 100 metres tall over 16 square kilometres. Brent Barrett says Turitea’s forest, ridgelines, wetlands and lakes comprise by far the best example of native habitat in the area.

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Dave Hansford

Proposed wind farm site raises concerns

Winner Pam Mayston

Wellington Conservation Awards

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OREST & Bird’s Lower Hutt Kiwi Conservation Club (KCC) Coordinator Pam Mayston (above) and

just erected its newest lodge at Ohakune, and with one of our stalwarts, Rita Carter, a member, she was able to arrange for us to use this very comfortable building. About a dozen members went down “to see what was going on”, and found themselves faced with large felled trees surrounded by thousands of seedlings ranging in size from tiny ones covering the mountainside like a lawn to trees a metre or more high. The pines looked like perfectly ordinary Christmas trees, not contorted at all, but when we found ones that had been lopped without all their needles being removed, the tangled mess that re-grew explained the name. Some people enjoyed the experience so much that they came back year after year, and were looking forward to repeating the experience next year. Sadly, there will not be another camp, because these were so successful. A big “thank you” goes to all the volunteers who pulled and lopped and sawed and sweated and enjoyed the experience of participating in a long-term eradication campaign that has succeeded. Philip Hart the Kapiti Mana Branch were among those honoured in the 11th Wellington Conservation Awards in August, which were presented by Conservation Minister Chris Carter and Associate Conservation Minister Mahara Okeroa in a ceremony at Parliament Buildings. Pam Mayston, who has been the inspired and enthusiastic leader of the Lower Hutt KCC for the past six years, won the education and advocacy category award. A merit award was also presented to Kapiti Botany Group, the Kapiti Mana Forest & Bird Branch and friends of Greendale Reserve for the restoration of Greendale Reserve in Otaihanga, and linking to other groups in the community including Kenakena School.

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Val Clemens

Year 7 students at Mt Hutt College, Methven, collected 340 signatures on the petition.

Te Wairoa Reserve

Students help Save Our Sealions

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IF the sealions go, then part of New Zealand’s history will be gone. People in the future will miss out on the experience of seeing the sealion, and I hope this petition will save the sealions,” Paige Balloch of Mt Hutt College in Methven says. Year 7 students at the college took on Forest & Bird’s Save Our Sealions petition as their focus for Conservation Week. As well as studying the issue of sealion deaths as bycatch in the southern squid fishery, the students took the petition around all the school’s classrooms and collected 340

signatures from among its roll of 500. Forest & Bird was delighted with the students’ efforts, especially as they took the total number of signatures to 10,000 in August – an important milestone on the way to its final target of 15,000 and beyond to over 18,000. The students’ understanding of the implications of allowing a “kill quota” of up to 150 sealions in a season was impressive, as was their commitment to taking action to help this urgent conservation issue. Helen Bain

HE Forest & Bird North Taranaki Branch has been committed to maintaining the attractive native bush at Te Wairoa Reserve (above) since it was bought by the Society in 1988. The purchase of the reserve, also known as the Dorothy Baker Memorial Reserve, was made possible by the generous bequest of Dorothy Baker, a branch member who died in 1986. This five-hectare block, under QEII Trust Covenant, is mostly mature native trees with a small swamp area of about 100 square metres. The late Peter Winter, as Branch Chair, was the main driving force in the purchase

L-R: Murray Duke, Ian Barry and Allan Baikie.

of the reserve backed by many members including Marlene Benson, Audrey Eagle, Maggie Bayfield and Bill Messenger. DOC Biodiversity funds have helped the branch cover a lot of the costs involved but there is still quite a bit to do in the way of weed clearance and the planting of seedlings. Much of this work has been managed by Allan Baikie and many other members. There has been a vast improvement in the reserve since it was purchased and it is hoped that efforts to resolve the reserve’s weed problems should be completed over the next two or three years. Colin Wright

Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society

Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society

CONSERVATION CALENDAR 2007

NEW ZEALAND CONSERVATION DIARY 2007 M AY / J U N E 2 0 0 7

M AY 2007

JUL Y 2007

M T W T F S S 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31

M T W T F S S 30 31 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29

MONDAY

28

TUESDAY

29

WEDNESDAY

30

THURSDAY

31

FRIDAY

Full Moon

1

SATURDAY

2

SUNDAY

3

Mother and pups (Tui de Roy)

Stunning photos of New Zealand’s native flora and fauna taken by some of New Zealand’s leading nature photographers. Envelope supplied; weight less than 200 gms for economical posting.

$14.99

includes post and packaging

This beautifully produced diary includes photographs of New Zealand landscapes, plants and wildlife. It includes ‘week to view’ pages and is spiral bound so it will lie flat when open.

$24.99

includes post and packaging

Both calendar and diary are available now. Send orders with cheque and delivery details to: Craig Potton Publishing, PO Box 555, Nelson. Phone 03-548-9009. Fax 03-548-9456. Email: info@cpp.co.nz. To order by credit card, refer to the Forest and Bird website: www.forestandbird.org.nz

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FOREST & BIRD • NOVEMBER 2006

47


No. 144 NOVEMBER 06

Rob Kitchin/The Dominion Post

Conservation

Save Our Sealions petition presented at Parliament Nearly 17,000 New Zealanders signed Forest & Bird’s petition asking the government to stop the killing of threatened New Zealand sealions in the southern squid fishery. The petition asking Fisheries Minister Jim Anderton to set the sealion “kill quota” for the 2006-07 squid fishing season at close to zero was signed by 16,752 people and was presented to Steve Chadwick MP, Chairwoman of the Local Government and Environment Select Committee, at Parliament in late September. Jim Anderton had refused to accept the petition, so Steve Chadwick agreed to accept it on his behalf, along with a sealion ice sculpture, symbolising the 2000 sealions that have been killed in the squid fishery since 1980. The petition was presented to Steve Chadwick by Forest & Bird General Manager Mike Britton and Advocacy Manager Kevin Hackwell, staff members, and Wellington Kiwi Conservation Club (KCC) and local branch members, including KCC Coordinator Donna Sherlock who accompanied a group of KCC members face-painted as sealion pups. National’s Conservation spokesman Nick Smith MP and Green MP Sue Kedgely also

attended the presentation. ▲ L-R: Finlay Sherlock-Ludlaw, Donna Sherlock and Jade Collins Forest & Bird Advocacy helped present the Save Our Sealions petition at Parliament. Manager Kevin Hackwell said the Donna is the Wellington Kiwi Conservation Club Coordinator. number of signatures reflected an unprecedented level of public concern over the issue, and showed that “The New Zealand Government New Zealanders do not accept the high is prepared to take a stand on the number of sealions being killed by the squid international stage in opposing the killing fishing industry. of whales, yet at home it is allowing the “New Zealanders know that it is wrong killing of a native marine mammal that is at to kill these threatened, endemic marine greater threat of extinction than the minke mammals in numbers which put them whale,” Kevin Hackwell said. at risk of extinction. We hope that the Since the petition was presented at minister will take their concern into account Parliament the number of signatures when he sets the kill quota for the coming received by Forest & Bird has risen to more season.” than 18,000 which is well above the 15,000 “We also hope that Jim Anderton will not target set in June when it was launched to give in to pressure from the squid fishing industry when he sets the kill quota this mark World Ocean Day. year, as he did last season when he raised the kill quota from 97 to a record high of What you can do: 150 sealions after the industry ‘indicated’ it would take legal action.” • Write to Fisheries Minister Jim Anderton The New Zealand sealion is the world’s urging him to reduce the kill sealion quota for rarest sealion species, with just 5000 the 2006-07 squid fishing season, Parliament breeding adults remaining, and pup Buildings (Freepost), or by email: production has fallen 30% since 1998. It janderton@ministers.govt.nz is protected under the Marine Mammals • Support Forest & Bird’s Save Our Sealions Act, which lists it as a protected threatened appeal online at www.forestandbird.org.nz species.

48 FOREST & BIRD • NOVEMBER 2006

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Dave Hansford

▲Three-year-old Nancy Desai from Lower Hutt gets up close with the sealion ice sculpture at Parliament.


© Department of Conservation Te Papa Atawhai/Dave Murray

Fancy a slice of the South Island? This is the cake Forest & Bird cut up and handed out to the public to represent the giveaway of high country land via the tenure review process.

Hackwell, Laura Richards and Helen Bain outside LINZ.

In September Forest & Bird announced its call for a moratorium on tenure review – a process which is paying people to take hundreds of thousands of hectares of stateowned land in the South Island high country. The call for a moratorium was launched outside Land Information New Zealand’s (LINZ) offices at Lambton Quay. Forest & Bird staff gave away slices of a giant South Island-shaped cake to the public and ‘paid’ them with $15 milliom “cheques” to take the cake, representing the unfair deal that Forest & Bird believes tenure review is delivering for conservation. Tenure review is a process of land reform administered by LINZ in which pastoral leaseholders are given private ownership of parts of high country leasehold properties, while other parts are protected as conservation land. Forest & Bird is concerned that the balance of tenure review has tipped too far in favour of farmers who are gaining private ownership of the land, while conservation is being short-changed. Advocacy Manager Kevin Hackwell says tenure review is failing to protect many of the high country’s most threatened and unique ecosystems, landscapes, wildlife and plant species. Once former pastoral leases are in private ownership, there are few controls on widespread development – such as subdivision of lakefront land – which would change the face and character of our high country forever. Much more (60%) of the high country leases that have so far gone through tenure review have gone into private ownership, while just 40% have been protected as conservation land – well short of the promised 50-50 split. The government has also paid former leaseholdes more than $15 million in “equalisation payments” in tenure

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© Department of Conservation Te Papa Atawhai/Rod Morris

Michael Szabo

Michael Szabo

▲ ▲ L-R: Gabrielle Wilson, Mike Britton, Sue Yates, Kevin

Tenure review moratorium proposed

Black stilt (above) and wrybill breed locally.

review deals. Forest & Bird also fears tenure review is restricting public recreational access to the high country. “Ten years after tenure review began, we believe it is time to pause for a ‘stocktake’ of what the process has delivered so far, and make any necessary adjustments before tenure review goes any further,” Kevin Hackwell says. “A moratorium would allow scientific, conservation, recreation and community groups to have their say, and provide the opportunity for the government to make a considered examination of whether tenure review is delivering a fair result that protects everyone’s interests.”

What you can do: Write to Land Information Minister David Parker supporting Forest & Bird’s call for a moratorium on tenure review to allow scientific, conservation, recreation and community groups to have their say, and to provide the opportunity for the government to make a considered examination of whether tenure review is delivering a fair result that protects everyone’s interests

Forest & Bird has recommended a list of improvements to the tenure review process to ensure better conservation and recreation outcomes from it. These include extra funding of $20 million to enable the Nature Heritage Fund to buy whole leases which have extensive areas of special values and recreational opportunities; setting performance standards to require LINZ and DOC to advocate for the Crown’s interest and achieve protection of landscapes and lowland-montane biodiversity; and practical public access and better contracting and public consultation process so that LINZ contractors are required to obtain quality outcomes and are not paid for completed deals.

Richmond tenure review threatens Lake Tekapo The announcement of a tenure review proposal for Richmond, adjoining Lake Tekapo, has heightened Forest & Bird’s concerns that the tenure review process is shortchanging conservation in the South Island high country. Environment Canterbury shares those concerns – its Chief Executive Bryan Jenkins has urged Commissioner for Crown Lands David Gullen to withdraw the Richmond proposal. Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) has released its analysis of public submissions on the Richmond tenure review, which proposes freeholding some 6000hectares (ha) of lakeshore land – including nine kilometres of lake frontage – from the 9567-ha property. Bryan Jenkins says Environment Canterbury has “significant concerns” about the Richmond proposal, and considers it threatens significant landscape, environmental and recreational values. Richmond is home to a number of threatened native species, including black stilt (kaki), blackfronted tern (tarapiroe), blackbilled gull (tarapunga), wrybill (ngutuparore) and New Zealand falcon (karearea), which may be further threatened by development if parts of the property become privately owned.

FOREST & BIRD • NOVEMBER 2006

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Tom Scott/The Dominion Post

Fonterra urged to clean up its act Forest & Bird is concerned that Fonterra has been granted consent to dump thousands of cubic metres of wastewater into the Manawatu River. In August Horizons Regional Council granted the dairy giant permission to discharge up to 8500 cubic metres of wastewater per day – the equivalent of 280 milk tankers – into the river from its Longburn dairy factory for the next 15 years. Forest & Bird was one of 18 groups,

including the Department of Conservation, Ngati Raukawa, Fish & Game and MidCentral Health, that opposed Fonterra’s application to dump the wastewater. The Waitarere Environmental Care Association has since lodged an appeal with the Environment Court against the regional council’s decision. The group has called for the consent period to be shortened to three years, with all discharges after that to be to land.

Horowhenua Branch Secretary Joan Leckie says Forest & Bird is disappointed that consent was granted, and support the association’s decision to appeal. Forest & Bird urged Fonterra to set a timetable to fulfil the commitment its makes on its website to “minimising the impact of dairying on the environment,” including responsible treatment of wastewater, and “to achieve clean, healthy water in dairying on streams, rivers, lakes and wetlands.” “As New Zealand’s biggest exporter, Fonterra sells its products to international markets that demand that those products are produced in an environmentally sustainable way,” Joan Leckie says. “We would be happy to work with Fonterra to help it meet those expectations”. “Fonterra is insisting that its farmers clean up their own waterways, while it is continuing to discharge wastewater into the river – we would like to see Fonterra reconsider the impact its own actions are having on the Manawatu River.” Fonterra could demonstrate that it genuinely wanted to clean up waterways by supporting the efforts of Forest & Bird and others’s to protect the Manawatu Estuary, Joan Leckie says. Manawatu Estuary has been accorded international status as a Wetland of Importance under the global Ramsar Convention.

Consent hearing asked to Save the Wairau

50 FOREST & BIRD • NOVEMBER 2006

the year, causing smaller braids to dry up and changing the natural braided character of the river. This would have a detrimental effect on habitat and food sources for a variety of native wildlife species, and increase their vulnerability to introduced mammalian predators. The 170-kilometre-long river provides habitat for endangered black-fronted tern, black-billed gull and wrybill, as well as 24 native fish species. At the mouth of the river the Wairau Lagoons cover 2000-hectares of marsh and mudflats, which provide habitat for more than 90 species, including New Zealand’s largest colony of royal spoonbills. Forest & Bird is seeking international recognition of the Wairau River through inclusion on the List of Wetlands of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention. Initial assessment shows the Wairau River meets six of eight criteria for Ramsar status. Debs Martin says there are feasible alternatives to meet our energy needs that do not cause the substantial damage the proposed hydroelectric scheme would cause to the Wairau River.

Of 1451 submissions made in response to TrustPower’s application, 904 (or 62%) were opposed. A decision is not expected till next year.

Craig Potton

The Wairau River is a precious natural resource that must be protected, Forest & Bird has told a consent hearing over a hydroelectric power scheme proposed for the river. TrustPower is seeking various resource and land use consents to build a hydroelectric power scheme on the Wairau River. Forest & Bird opposed TrustPower’s application when it made its submission to a Marlborough District Council consent hearing in August. Top of the South Island Field Officer Debs Martin told the hearing that the scheme would have significant adverse effects on the spectacular braided river system, adjoining wetlands, the native wildlife and plant species that live there, and recreational opportunities for public enjoyment of the river. The Wairau River is one of the few remaining intact braided river systems in New Zealand, and has one of the highest proportions of endemic species in the world. Worldwide and in New Zealand, braided rivers in their natural state are one of the most threatened natural features. TrustPower’s proposal to divert water through a 49-kilometre canal system would dramatically reduce river flows for much of

▲ The Wairau River meets six of eight criteria under the Ramsar Convention as a Wetland of International Importance.

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Steve Dawson – NZ Whale and Dolphin Trust

Set net ban sought for all Maui’s dolphins

$20,000 for breaching the set net ban, but still Maui’s dolphins remain at risk from set nets. Last summer the deaths of 19 Hector’s dolphins were reported – luckily the toll did not include any of the most critically endangered Maui’s dolphin, but the number of deaths indicates the risk to Maui’s dolphins is still high. The existing set net ban does not extend fully into all harbours, despite studies showing that Maui’s dolphin have been sighted in those areas. Forest & Bird wants the set net ban to be extended throughout Maui’s dolphins’ range.

What you can do:

The Maui’s dolphin is the world’s rarest.

If you are out on the water this summer, make sure you look out for the world’s smallest and rarest dolphin, Maui’s dolphin. Less than 150 Maui’s dolphin remain, and the subspecies faces a serious risk of extinction, mostly due to deaths in set nets. The dolphins’ echolocation does not seem to be able to detect the fine nylon nets, which can trap the dolphins under the water, drowning them. Other threats to Maui’s dolphins include being hit by boats, trawl fishing, marine rubbish and pollution. Their slow reproductive rate means their population struggles to keep up with human-induced deaths. Maui’s dolphin is the North Island subspecies of the Hector’s dolphin, and is found only on the north-west coast of

the North Island from Dargaville to New Plymouth. They can be distinguished from other dolphin species by their rounded dorsal fins, gently sloping (rather than bottlenose) snouts, distinctive black markings and small size – they are shorter than adult humans and weigh about 50 kilograms. In 2003, after lobbying by Forest & Bird and other conservation groups, a ban on set nets within four nautical miles of the west coast of the North Island from New Plymouth to Kaipara Harbour, and in the entrance to Manukau Harbour west of Puponga Point to 0.5 nautical miles north of Kauri Point was introduced. Commercial fishers can be fined up to $100,000 and recreational fishers up to

- Support Forest & Bird’s call for set net bans to be extended across Maui’s dolphins full range by writing to Conservation Minister Chris Carter and Fisheries Minister Jim Anderton at Parliament (no stamp is required). - Check the Forest & Bird website for details of submissions currently pending. - Abide by the set net ban. - Travel at very slow speed in boats within 300 metres of dolphins. - Don’t swim with Maui’s dolphins. - Dispose of rubbish carefully – don’t throw it overboard. - Report sightings of Maui’s dolphins by phoning 0800 4 MAUIS (0800 462 847) so researchers can learn more about their numbers and range. - Report dead or stranded dolphins to the Department of Conservation on 0800 DOCHOT (0800 362 468). - Contact the Ministry of Fisheries on 0800 4 POACHER (0800 476 224) if you see anyone using set nets in closed areas.

Review of Wildlife Act welcomed Forest & Bird has sought protection for a wider range of native animals under the Wildlife Act. In July the Department of Conservation issued a discussion paper on possible changes to the schedules of the 1953 Wildlife Act, which provide legal protection for animal species. The deadline for public submissions has passed and decisions on any changes to the act will not be made till next year. Forest & Bird Advocacy Manager Kevin Hackwell says Forest & Bird is pleased the government is moving to review the Wildlife Act schedules, something Forest & Bird has advocated for some years. “The schedules have not been reviewed for well over a decade and changes to them

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have been piecemeal for some time. We are pleased to see the government finally taking action.” He says there are currently whole categories of native species which are known to be threatened, but which aren’t on the list of protected species. Forest & Bird is particularly pleased to see that many invertebrate species could potentially gain protection under the act for the first time. The discussion paper identifies a number of species, including invertebrates and threatened marine species such as whale sharks (the world’s largest shark, at up to 14 metres long) and rays, and Forest & Bird’s submission strongly supports their protection under the act.

@

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bookreviews

New Zealand – A Natural World Revealed by Tui De Roy and Mark Jones, 160pp, hardbound, David Bateman, 2006, RRP $59.99 Tui De Roy and Mark Jones’ new book is a tour de force. It is a spectacular example of the coffee table books that David Bateman specialises in, and one which seamlessly weaves together natural history insights with travelogue and conservation. It contains 450 of Tui De Roy’s stunning photographs, each image accompanied by an informative extended caption. A narrative runs through each thematic section, taking the reader on a fascinating journey across the land to the sea. The book includes sumptuous images of marine mammals and seabirds, but

Eagle’s Complete Trees and Shrubs of New Zealand by Audrey Eagle, Vol I 544pp, Vol II 592pp, hardbound in slip case, Te Papa Press, 2006, RRP $200 Eagle’s Complete Trees and Shrubs of New Zealand is the latest incarnation of Audrey Eagle’s award-winning native plant paintings, complete with her authoritative descriptions of each species. This new two-volume edition brings together her previous 630 paintings with 170 new works, which in total depict all 800 of New Zealand’s

the focus is clearly on New Zealand’s terrestrial habitats and species. Best known in New Zealand for her photographic books about the Galapagos Islands, where she grew up, Tui De Roy seems equally at home with New Zealand’s flora and fauna, and has captured a myriad of new and fresh ways of seeing them. The images speak eloquently of the beauty of the landscape and the richness of native habitats. Many also reveal the secret life of some of our most elusive native birds. The cover image of a Stewart Island tokoeka feeding is part of a series of such images that appear early in the book. Perhaps the most engaging images are of a kakapo climbing in the forest, a kokako feeding on clematis, a saddleback feeding on pohutukawa and a sublime image of a kea in flight, the greens and blues on its upper wing glinting in the light. The innovative design presents the book’s contents well, rather than obscuring them. At $59.99 it is competitively priced. Michael Szabo native trees and shrubs. The whole book is a labour of love, the paintings themselves some 50 years in the making. In comparison to the 1986 edition, the colours here seem richer and more textured, especially in the paintings of the flowers of the native clematis and the kowhai species. The production values embodied in the two volumes and slipcase are second to none. At $200 not everyone will want to buy it. If, however, you have a passion for botanical illustration then you will be well served by this definitive book. Michael Szabo

52 FOREST & BIRD • NOVEMBER 2006

The Bedside Book of Birds – An Avian Miscellany by Graeme Gibson, 370pp, hardback, Bloomsbury, 2005, RRP$69.99 IRDS have inspired people since the dawn of time, judging by Graeme Gibson’s global anthology of writings on birds. This fascinating volume covers myth, folklore, poetry, fiction, anecdote and scientific

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Sil a novel by Jill Harris, 228pp, limpbound, Longacre Press, 2005, RRP $18.95 IL, a young tui, is about to enter the annual song competition. His new and daring composition is sure to ruffle a few feathers. This particular tui also loves playing “floop”, a game of

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The Art of J G Keulemans: Paintings of the Birds of New Zealand 120pp, hardcover, Random House, 2006, RRP $34.99 Most New Zealanders are familiar with JG Keulemans’ classic nineteenth century bird paintings from Buller’s A History of the Birds of New

writings. Beautiful paintings, drawings and artefacts complement the printed word. Great bird artists like Keulemans, Audubon, Gould and Richter are all here, along with writers as diverse as Bruce Chatwin, Peter Mathiesson, Ted Hughes and Barry Lopez. Representing 15 years of research, passion and evident enjoyment, it contained for me interesting new discoveries such as the exquisite bird paintings of the Czech artist Karel Svolinsky and haunting passages such as Marco Polo’s descriptions of Genghis Khan’s bird hunt using 10,000 falcons. New Zealand species such as kakapo, huia, saddleback (tieke) and kiwi make appearances, as well as the wider ranging albatrosses, making this finely crafted volume even more relevant to a Kiwi audience. Michael Szabo aerial acrobatics, with his daredevil girlfriend, Bron. It is not long before a shadow, in the menacing form of outcast magpies, falls across the idyllic valley. This sets the stage for a final battle for supremacy. Jill Harris has created an extraordinary novel for children aged 10-14. Sil has the timeless quality of a classic, yet this is a first novel that was shortlisted as a finalist in the 2006 New Zealand Post book awards. Meticulously researched and beautifully written, Sil is full of humour and suspense. A story inspired by the tui and kereru that visit the author’s garden in Wellington, Sil is highly recommended for youngsters, or for adults who simply love a great story. Laura Richards Zealand, even if they don’t know the artist’s name. As works of art, Keulemans’ portraits are on a par with the great bird painters of his age such as Audubon and Gould. Less well-known is the story behind them, which is what makes Ross Galbreath’s stylish new edition worthwhile reading. Michael Szabo w w w. f o r e s t a n d b i r d . o r g . n z


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Beautiful Birds of New Zealand by Rod Morris and Alison Ballance, 224pp, limpbound, Random House New Zealand, 2006, RRP $49.99

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HIS attractive value-formoney volume celebrates the beauty and diversity of New Zealand bird life with photographer Rod Morris and author Alison Ballance making a personal selection from the more than 300 bird species that occur in the New Zealand region.

Piha – the perfect retreat.

Laura Richards

Rod Morris’ photographs are suberb. The sharpness and intimacy of his portraits of the smaller birds are particularly impressive. He manages to be both evocative and precise in his images, encapsulating each bird in its surroundings. Alison Ballance’s text is just as fascinating and enjoyable. She manages to pack a wealth of material into her 300-word species accounts, including little gems like the fact that tui may have a foraging range of up to 100 kilomteres and the way the stitchbird (hihi) makes its complex nest in a cavity above the entrance hole. The design is impressive for its originality, combining the ease of a handbook with a coffee table feel. Full-page photographs of the 100 bird species covered run on the left-hand page of each double page spread, which are then repeated at “passport photo” size on the right-hand page, flush with the right-hand edge. This allows the reader to flick through and find a particular species photograph quickly. Michael Szabo

Retreat to the sound of the sea

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OREST & Bird’s Tai Haruru Lodge is perfectly and privately nestled well within its own idyllic valley in the

seaside community of Piha. It is hard to imagine the local rugged west coast actually exists, that is until you step onto the expansive deck and breathe in the beauty of the view. And what a view! A frothing ocean lies perfectly framed by the garden’s native trees as they weave down your very own secret pathway towards the sea. French doors and windows along the length of the house open up this comfortable and inviting home. Nature’s soundtrack includes many a song by the resident tui as they chortle away to the orchestra of the waves. The Waitakere Ranges is virtually on your doorstep. It simply brims with an abundance of beauty spots, bush reserves, nature walks, windswept beaches and wildlife. Local activities include surfing, fishing and tramping or choose to simply relax by the home’s wood burner or BBQ. A stroll from the house leads you past picnic spots and offers plenty of opportunities to view the local bird life. Piha is home to the little blue penguin (korora), the world’s smallest penguin. Pheasants, ducks, pukeko, plovers and oystercatchers are just a few to add to the mix. Tai Haruru is ideal for a romantic getaway or a family holiday. It is just 38 kilometres from central Auckland. There are two facilities which can be booked together or separately. The main home has a double bedroom and three single beds in a shared room, plus a lounge, dining area and kitchen. The self-contained unit has four single beds. Bring groceries, food, linen and fuel for the fire and BBQ. There is a local store where you can get a real coffee, a surf shop and a library. For more information on the area visit the Arataki Visitor Centre on Scenic Drive, tel: (09) 817 0077. For full details and seasonal rates please contact Booking Officer Patricia Thompson, 78 Neil Avenue, Te Atatu Peninsula, Waitakere City 0610, tel: (09) 834-7745 after 9 am. Laura Richards

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FOREST & BIRD • NOVEMBER 2006

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bulletin

Win an Adult Season Ski Pass  Stay at the Forest & Bird Lodge at Mt Ruapehu and go in the draw to win a season ski pass for the 2007 winter season!

Helen Bain

Details and conditions are posted at: www.forestandbird.org.nz

Forest & Bird’s fundraising screening of An Inconvenient Truth held in Wellington in September was a sellout success with all 500 tickets taken up. Among those in attendance were Kate Clarke, Al Morrison, Acting Director-General of the Department of Conservation, and Marianne Ackerman (above). Special thanks to Dr Sean Weaver, the Paramount and Banrock Station for helping make it such a great event.

Kiwis for Kiwis

and my forest friends The GlowWorms are pretty stunning too!

ENVELOPE SAVERS

Napier branch has a supply of pads, each containing 50 sheets, gummed on the back. Cost $3 per pad; bulk orders of 10 or more to branches $2.50 per pad. Send orders to “Envelope Savers”, 160 Vigor Brown St, Napier. Make cheques payable to Napier Forest & Bird.

Ruakaka Kayaking

2.5 hour Guided Eco Tour of a Northland estuary suitable all age groups. For bookings ph 09 432 8668 or 021 233 6748 8 Princes Rd, Ruakaka

Albatross Encounter

96 Esplanade KAIKOURA

Pelagic tours by boat to view at close range an exciting number of sea birds including albatross, petrels, shearwaters and more. Tours daily at 6.00am, 9.00am and 1.00pm (duration 2.5 hours, 4 hour tours by arrangement) Phone 0800 733 365 for information and reservations Adults $75.00 Children $35.00 Website with latest sightings at www.oceanwings.co.nz Email info@ oceanwings.co.nz

Stewart Island Guided Walks

NZ Natural History DVD’s

Nature walks in and around Halfmoon Bay Overnight expeditions Special Interest tours 0800 SEE KIWI (733 549) walks@sigw.co.nz

www.kiwinaturalhistory.co.nz

Twice daily departures from downtown Wellington. www.sealcoast.com Freephone 0800 732 527 or email safari@sealcoast.com

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The Real Vanuatu More wilderness, less people 0800 HUMP RIDGE (486 774) forest@humpridgetrack.co.nz

Seal Coast Safari

Get off the beaten track, help contribute to the future of Vatthe National Park. • 14 days exploring 3 islands • Easy forest walking • Stay in a remote village • Relax on tropical beaches • Snorkel over vibrant coral reefs • Watch a live volcano on Tanna Tour limited to 12 Departs June/July 2007 Sue Maturin – Vatthe Tours, Dunedin. ph 03 4876 125

s.maturin@forest&bird.org.nz

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I S L A N D S

3 day sailing trips with an emphasis on the marine environment - sail, kayak, snorkel, hike, view wildlife

Ecocruz

CALL US NOW 0800 432 627 w w w. e c o c r u z . c o . n z

PHILPROOF PEST CONTROL PRODUCTS New Zealand’s own birdlife card game. Original. Eco-friendly NZ made. Educational. Fun for all the family. Available from naturenurture $18.95 incl. post. P O Box 47961 AKL, or email naturenurture@ihug.co.nz

54 FOREST & BIRD • NOVEMBER 2006

WIPEOUT: Possums, Rodents, Mustelids, Rabbits Standard & Mini Philproof Bait Stations & Timms Traps Rodent Bait Stations and Block Baits. Rodent Snap Traps Fenn Traps (MK4 & 6), Trap Covers – Double or Single Also available: Monitoring Tunnels & Bird Nesting Chambers Phone/Fax 07 859 2943 Mobile 021 270 5896 PO Box 4385, Hamilton 2032 Website: www.philproof.co.nz Email: philproof.feeders@clear.net.nz

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OKARITO COTTAGE Well appointed cottage. Sleeps 3 but room for more in the attic. Close to West Coast beach, bush walks and lagoon. Southern Alps form a backdrop and Franz Josef approx. 30 kilometres on tarsealed road. Cost $70 PER FAMILY Extra Adults $10 per night Further enquiries contact Elspeth Scott, 19 Ngamotu Rd, Taupo 07-378-9390 email: ElspethScott@xtra.co.nz

Fiordland Ecology Holidays 65ft Motor Yacht Breaksea Girl 3 to 7 day trips in Fiordland. Dolphins, seals and penguins, forest ecology, natural history combined with great food and company. Small groups so bookings essential. Forest & Bird members 5% discount. Suitable for all ages.

Summer and Autumn schedule out now.

"Specialist Nature tours"

Australia & Beyond

BIORESEARCHES CONSULTING BIOLOGISTS AND ARCHAEOLOGISTS ESTABLISHED 1972

Join us as we explore some of the last remote, diverse and specta lar wilderness areas left in the world. Let our professional naturalist guides share their love of nature with you. Experience the natural history highlights of the Kimberley in northen Western Australia and the South Wests magnificent wildflower display and diverse birdlife. Explore Queenslands Cape York, Lord Howe and Christmas Islands plus the Galapagos Islands and Ecuadorian jungle.       For your 2006 brochure and full tour details:     E-MAIL: coates@iinet.net.au   WEBSITE: www.coateswildlifetours.com.au TEL: (61 8) 9330 6066   FAX: (61 8) 9330 6077 Suite B8 550 Canning Highway Attadale, Western Australia 6156 GSA Coates Tours Licence no 9ta1135/36

Environmental Impact Studies Surveys of Marine, Freshwater & Terrestrial Habitats Pollution Investigations Resource Consent procedures Archaeological; Historic Places Appraisal bioresearches@bioresearches.co.nz www.bioresearches.co.nz P.O Box 2828 Auckland PH: AUCKLAND 379 9417 Fax (09) 307 6409

AFRICAN Wildlife Mark & Jean Caulton, guiding Australians in Africa for the past 15 years.

LAND FOR SALE

2.5acres – Waitoki, Auckland Rare opportunity for endless birdwatching. Rural views over 2 lakes and wetlands – a wildlife refuge for over 50 species of birds + future native forestation. Priced accordingly for conservation-minded people who will appreciate this environment. (5min to Nth Mtwy/Silverdale Intersection) Ph: (09)4205969 Email: teal.lodge@xtra.co.nz

NAMIBIA 16 days, September 2007. Namib Desert, Coast, Etosha Park. 250+ birds. 30+ mammals. From NZ$4200. SOUTH AFRICA 16 days, October 2007. Kruger Park, Zululand & Drakensberg. 340+ birds. 40+ mammals. From NZ$4500. Pelican Safaris NZ, Box 1552, Taupo. Tel: 07 378 2225 pelicansaf@xtra.co.nz www.pelicansafaris.com

FREE-HOLD LAND FOR SALE

RANGITIKEI RIVER MOUTH Two, 5 acre (approx) blocks of unique, privately-held land on an undeveloped estuary, 200 metres from the ocean beach, 35 minutes from Palmerston North. Borders DOC Scientific Reserve (Fernbird, rare dune plants). Tel/power close by. Fenced. Write:

PH/FAX: 03 249 6600 FREEPHONE 0800 249 660 PO Box 40, MANAPOURI EMAIL info@fiordland.gen.nz www.fiordland.gen.nz

A GREAT SUMMER HOLIDAY BREAK

AT NO COST!

WILDERNESS WEEKS Based from the comfort of New Zealand’s two Wilderness Lodges. ARTHUR’S PASS Southern Alps Heartland or LAKE MOERAKI West Coast Wilderness December 2006 March, April, May 2007 Guided by Biologist Dr Gerry McSweeney 6 days of nature & plant discovery, walking, birdwatching, canoeing, gourmet food and fun. Suits all ages For details contact: Email: gerry@wildernesslodge.co.nz Phone: 03 318 9002 Fax: 03 318 9245 www.wildernesslodge.co.nz

White Heron Sanctuary Tours Come with us, RAINFOREST, NATURE and JETBOATING TOURS, all year round. Viewing of nesting colony from October to March. Ph. 0800 52 34 56

www.whiteherontours.co.nz

Bush & Beyond Guided Walks

The Original Kahurangi Guides

The Original From Comfortable LodgeKahurangi stay to Off track Guides wilderness backpacking. From Comfortable Including: Lodge stay to Heaphy and Cobb Valley Off track wilderness and much more! backpacking Conservation Including:values Heaphy and

35 School RD 3and much CobbRd, Valley Motueka, 7198more! T/F: 03Conservation 528 9054 values E: info@bushandbeyond.co.nz 35 School Rd, RD 3 Motueka, 7198 T/F: 03 528 9054 E: info@bushandbeyond.co.nz W: www. bushandbeyond.co.nz

www.bushandbeyond.co.nz

Beach blocks P.O. Box 24073 Wellington for details

Would you like to help the planet by becoming a Greenpeace fundraiser? We need passionate people to be the public face of Greenpeace, engaging people on the street, inspiring them to become financial supporters. Sales skills are an advantage but not essential if you care about the environment, are confident, outgoing and a good communicator. Earn $13-$20 p/h. View full job description on: www.greenpeace.org or call 0800 22 33 44 ext. 857 before calling Sheena on 0800 22 33 44 ext 811/309 w w w. f o r e s t a n d b i r d . o r g . n z

RON GREENWOOD ENVIRONMENTAL TRUST The trust provides financial support for projects advancing the conservation and protection of New Zealand's natural resources, particularly flora and fauna, marine life, geology, atmosphere & waters. More information is available from the Trust, at: PO Box 10-359, Wellington

FOREST & BIRD • NOVEMBER 2006

55


2006index Authors and articles listed by issue, then page numbers. Key: BO = Branching Out, CB = Conservation Briefs, IF = In the Field, Com = Comment, GP = Going Places, Bul = Bulletin, IE = Itinerant Ecologist

AUTHORS Bain, Helen, Balleny expedition supports case for MPA, CB, May, p6; High hopes for Rimutaka kiwi, Aug, p24; Saving the Wairau, Aug, p34; Palliser Bay, GP, Aug, p36; Takahe returned to NI mainland, CB, Aug, p3; Ruataniwha Conservation Park opened, CB, Aug, p5; Operation Ark cranks up, CB, Aug, p10; Rangitata River protected, CB, Aug, p11; Rare mistletoe rediscovered, CB, Aug, p14 Flying colours, Aug, p18; Old Blue Awards, BO, Aug, p45; Bird of the Year, CB, Nov, p3; Loder Cup 2006, CB, Nov, 6; Operation Ark combats rat plague, CB, Nov, p8; “Death to rats”, CB, Nov, p9; St Mike & Cllr Coney, Nov, p37; Going native, Nov, p27; Bushy Park, Nov, p30; Natural capital, Nov, p35. Bellingham, Mark, A shark’s tale, May, p24 Biswell, Shelley, Cook’s scurvy grass tops plant poll, CB, Feb, p4; Shearwaters moving to Kaikoura Peninsula, CB, Feb, p8; Ferals filming endangered chicks, CB, Feb, p9; Wild kakabeak numbers unexpectedly low, CB, Feb, p10; Blue ducks breed on Mt Taranaki, CB, Feb, p12; Research reveals albatross slaughter, CB, Feb, p14; Robins released at Matiu/ Somes, CB, May, p7, Blue ducks hold their own, CB, May, p9; New digs for Hutton’s shearwater, CB, May, p10; Orca show up, CB, May, p11; Chatham plant discoveries, CB, May, p12; Forest & Bird champions honoured, BO, May, p40 Britton, Mike, Towards a century of conservation achievement, Feb, p22 Collins, Meg, One good turn, May, p30

Enderby, Jenny & Tony, Fiordland’s underwater World Heritage, Nov, p14. Gaskin, Chris, Hauraki magic, Aug, p28 Graeme, Ann, Weedbusters, IF, May, p38; Cloudgazing, IF, Aug, p42; A forest of flowers, IF, Nov, p44. Graeme, Basil, Message in a bottle, IF, Feb, p42; Big leaf blot on Vanuatu landscape (with Ann Graeme and Sue Maturin), Bul, Feb, p48 Gummer, Helen, Snow ducks of the subantarctic, Feb, p32 Hansford, Dave, Water from the wine, Feb, p24; Geckos with altitude, May, p26; Making a killing? Aug, p15; The new frontier, Nov, p21. Higham, Tim, Great Barrier/Aotea Island, GP, p 38. Maddison, Peter, New hope, new vision, Com, Feb, p2; A Year of Achievement, Com, May, p2; Farmers are environmentalists too, Com, Aug, p2; Face the truth, Com, Nov, p2. Miller, Stuart, ANZANG Portfolio – Nature and Landscape Photographer of the year 2006, Nov, p18. Mills, Stephanie, Poor Knights Islands Marine Reserve, GP, Feb, p36 Ombler, Kathy, Kiwi at Rainbow Springs, Feb, p27; Breeding success for southern dotterels, CB, Aug, p12; Community habitat restoration on Stewart Island/ Rakiura, CB, Nov, p10. Park, Geoff, Hooker’s tree-ferns, IE, Feb, p40; MacIntyre’s River, IE, May, p36; Huiaeating in the Wairarapa, IE, Aug, p38; A pilgrimage to Big Trees, Nov, IE, p42.

Sage, Eugenie, David Given (Obit), BO, Feb, p45; Safeguarding our high country heritage, Nov, p 32. Stephenson, Brent, NZ storm-petrels captured in the Hauraki Gulf, CB, Feb, p7; Birdlife booms at Boundary Stream, CB, Feb, p11; Good news for taiko, CB, Feb, p15; Petrel head, Aug, p32 Szabo, Michael, Ark in the Park, Feb, p18; ASB Trust boosts Ark in the Park, CB, Feb, p3; Cape Palliser, CB, Feb, p4; The flight of the tuatara, CB, Feb, p16; New Zealand sealion ‘kill quota’ unscientific, CB, May, p3; Yacht race teams support Save the Albatross campaign, CB, May, p 4; Wildlink Accord, CB, May p8; Kokako breeding success, CB, May, p15; Salmonella strikes Tiri hihi, CB, May, p15; Riders on the storm, May, p16; Ulva Island, GP, May, p32; Albatross set to benefit, CB, Aug, p6; Birdlife mapped in Fiji, CB, Aug, p7; Most ecosystems in decline, CB, Aug, p9; Manawatu Estuary Ramsar celebration, CB, Aug, p12; Maungatautari, Aug, p20; Chief new World Heritage Committee Chairman, CB, Nov, p4; King Country kokako, CB, Nov, p4; Hihi is kokako “cousie”, CB, Nov, p10; Extinct Birds of New Zealand, Nov, p24. Vallance, Nicola, Marine riches of the Nuggets, CB, Feb, p13; The right stuff, Aug, p20 Wilks, John, Kiwi ‘egg timer’, Feb, p31 Williams, Rex, Small is beautiful, May, p22 Young, David, Whio, Aug, p26

ferns, Feb, p40; Hihi, CB, May, p15; Huia, Aug, p40; Hydro-power, Aug, p34 J JS Watson Trust, Feb, p46 K Kakabeak, Feb, p10; Kakapo, Feb, p8, Aug, p9; Katipo, Aug p46; Kiwi, Aug, p13 and 24; Kokako, Feb, p11 and May, p15 M Marine reserves, Feb, p13 and p36, May, p32 and p11, Aug, p7; Maud Is frog, May, p13; Maungatautari, Aug, p3, p4 and p20; Mistletoe, Aug, p14; Mohua, Aug, p10; Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, CB, Aug, p9; Manawatu Estuary, CB, Aug, p12 N North Island robin, Feb, p7; New Zealand sealion ‘kill quota’ unscientific, CB, May, p3; The new frontier, Nov, p21. O Old Blues, Aug, p44; Operation Ark, Aug, p10; Orange-fronted parakeet, Feb, p5, Aug, p10 P Palliser Bay, Aug, p36; Poor Knights

Islands Marine Reserve, Feb, p36; Predators, Feb, p42, Aug, p8 R Ramsar, Aug, p12; Rangitata River, Aug, p11; Right whales, Aug, p22; Ruataniwha Conservation Park, Aug, p5 S Scurvy grass, Feb, p4; Sea lions, May, p3, Aug, p15; Shearwater, Feb, p8 and May, p10; Southern dotterel, Aug, p12; Stitchbird, May, p15; Storm petrel, Feb, p7; Subantarctic Islands, May, p17 T Taiko, Feb, p15, Aug, p32; Takahe, Aug, p3; Tuatara, Feb, p16 U Ulva Island, May, p32, Aug, p9 V Vanuatu, Feb, p48 W Wairau River, Aug, p34; Weeds, May, p38, Aug, p10; Weta, May, p13; Wetlands, Feb, p24; White-fronted tern, May, p30; Wildlink Accord, May, p8 Y Yacht race teams support Save the Albatross campaign, CB, May, p 4

SUBJECTS A Albatross, Feb, p14, May, p4 and p16, Aug, p6; AGM, Aug, p44; Annual Report, May, p49; Ark in the Park, Feb, p3 and p18 B Black-billed gull, Feb, p9 and May, p31; Black-fronted tern, Aug, p35; Blue duck, Feb, p12, May, p9, Aug p26; Balleny Islands, May, p6; Brown teal, May, p15; Bushy Park, Aug, p6; Butterflies, Aug, p18 C Campbell Island snipe, May, p12; Campbell Island teal, Feb, p32 and May, p11; Cape Palliser, Feb, p4 and Aug, p36; Chatham Islands, May, p12; Clouds, Aug, p42; Cook’s petrel, Aug, p20 F Flight of the tuatara, CB, Feb, p16; Fairy prion, May, p10; Fairy terns, May, p23; Falcon (NZ), May, p8; Fiji, CB, Aug, p7. G Geckos, May, p27; Great white shark, May, p25 H Hauraki Gulf, Aug, p28; Hooker’s tree56 FOREST & BIRD • NOVEMBER 2006

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© Department of Conservation Te Papa Atawhai/Dick Veitch

Special Prize Draw

Kokako with chicks

for people with Sustainability Be one of the first to become a Sustain Member and go in the special prize draw. Sustain is our brand new monthly giving programme that offers you all the benefits of membership and more. Current Forest & Bird members are invited to join Sustain, as well as non-members. By becoming a Sustain Member you’ll be helping sustain more of New Zealand’s native wildlife and habitats. As a Sustain Member you’ll make a minimum monthly contribution of $20. Extra benefits for Sustain Members include: • Regular Sustain newsletters as well as Forest & Bird magazine • Invitations to special Forest & Bird events • Helping reduce administration costs, which means more resources for conservation.

Special Prize Draw: Join Sustain before 25 December 2006 and receive a free gift from our special prize draw pool of 500 prizes: 5 copies to be won

5 copies to be won

50 kokako prints (30 x 40 cm) signed by Pauline Morse, to be won

10 copies to be won

50 Graeme Sydney High Country print t-shirts to be won (Please indicate size on form)

100 Forest & Bird t-shirts to be won (Please indicate size on form)

280 copies to be won

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branchdirectory Upper North Island Central Auckland: Chair, Anne Fenn; Secretary, Isabel Still, PO Box 1118, Shortland St, Auckland. Tel: (09) 528-3986. Far North: Chair, Gary Bramley; Secretary. Michael Winch, PO Box 270, Kaeo, Northland. Tel: (09) 405-1746. Franklin: Chair & Secretary, Keith Gardner, 5 Stembridge Ave, Pukekohe. Tel: (09) 238-9928. Great Barrier Island: Secretary, Jenny Lloyd, 165 Shoal Bay Rd, RD1, Gt Barrier Is. Tel: (09) 429-0404. Hauraki Islands: Chair, Petra White; Secretary; Simon Griffiths, PO Box 314, Ostend, Waiheke Island. Tel: (09) 372-9583. Hibiscus Coast: Chair, Pauline Smith; Secretary: vacant, PO Box 310, Orewa. Tel: (09) 427-5517. Kaipara: Chair, Suzi Phillips; Secretary, Maire Thompson, Private Bag 1, Helensville 1250. Tel: (09) 411-5494. Mid North: Chair, Warwick Massey; Secretary, Raewyn Morrison, PO Box 552, Warkworth 1241. Tel: (09) 422 9123. Northern: Chair, vacant; Secretary, Beverly Woods, PO Box 1375, Whangarei. Tel: (09) 436-0932. North Shore: Chair, Neil Sutherland; Secretary, Jocelyn Sanders, PO Box 33 873, Takapuna, North Shore City.  Tel: (09) 479-2107. South Auckland: Chair, to be confirmed; Secretary, Ken Rutherford, PO Box 23 602, Papatoetoe. Tel: (09) 537-2093. Thames/Hauraki: Chair, Mrs Hazel Genner; Secretary, Marcia Sowman, 507 The Terrace, Thames. Tel: (07) 868-8696. Mercury Bay Section: Chair, Bruce Mackereth; Secretary, Mona Candy, PO Box 205, Whitianga 2856. Tel: (07) 866-4648. Upper Coromandel: Chair, Don Hughes; Secretary, Jeanette McIntosh, PO Box 108 Coromandel. Tel: (07) 866-7248.

Waitakere: Chair, Peter Maddison; Secretary, Ken Catt, PO Box 45144, Te Atatu Peninsula, Waitakere. Tel: (09) 834-6214. Central North Island Eastern Bay of Plenty: Chair, Rosemary Tully; Secretary, Sandee Malloch, c/- 260 Ohiwa Harbour Rd, RD2, Opotiki 3092. Tel: (07) 315-4989. Gisborne: Chair, Dick McMurray; Secretary, Grant Vincent, 1 Dominey Street, Gisborne, Tel: (06) 868-8236. King Country: Secretary, Steve Poelman, 37 Rangaroa Road, Taumarunui 2006; Secretary, Dori Porteous, Tel: (07) 896-7649. Rotorua: Chair, Chris Ecroyd; Secretary, Herb Madgwick, PO Box 1489, Rotorua. Tel: (07) 345-6255. South Waikato: Chair, Anne Groos; Secretary, Jack Groos, 37 Waianiwa Place, Tokoroa. Tel: (07) 886-7456. Taupo: Chair, to be confirmed; Secretary, Betty Windley, PO Box 1105 Taupo, Tel: (07) 377-1186. Tauranga: Chair, Basil Graeme; Secretary, Cynthia Carter, PO Box 487, Tauranga. Tel: (07) 571-1455. Te Puke: Chair, Neale Blaymires; Secretary, Colin Horn, PO Box 237, Te Puke. Waihi: Chair, Ian Bradshaw; Secretary, Krishna Buckman, 17 Reservoir Road, Waihi. Tel: (07) 863-8455. Waikato: Chair, Dr Philip Hart; Secretary, Jim MacDiarmid, PO Box 11-092, Hillcrest, Hamilton, Tel: (07) 849-3438. Wairoa: Chair, Stanley Richardson; Secretary, Glenys Single, 72 Kopu Rd, Wairoa 4192. Tel: (06) 838-8232. Lower North Island Central Hawke's Bay: Chair, Phil Enticott; Secretary, Max Chatfield, PO Box 189, Waipukurau.  Tel: (06) 858-9298.

Hastings/Havelock North:  Chair, Ian Noble; Secretary, Doreen Hall, Flat 1, 805 Kennedy Rd, Hastings. Tel: (06) 876-5978. Horowhenua: Chair, Robert Hirschberg; Secretary, Joan Leckie, Makahika Rd, RD 1, Levin 5500. Tel: (06) 368-1277. Kapiti Mana: Chair, David Gregorie; Secretary, John McLachlan, 78 Langdale Ave, Paraparaumu. Tel: (04) 904-0027. Lower Hutt: Chair, Stan Butcher; Secretary, Bill Watters, PO Box 31194, Lower Hutt. Tel: (04) 565-0638. Manawatu: Chair, Brent Barrett, PO Box 961, Palmerston Nth 5301. Tel: (06) 3576962; Secretary, Joanna McVeagh, PO Box 961, Palmerston North 5301. Tel: (06) 356 6054. Napier: Chair, Isabel Morgan;  Secretary, Margaret Gwynn, 23 Clyde Rd, Napier. Tel: (06) 8 35 2122. North Taranaki: Chair, Margaret Molloy; Secretary, Murray Duke, 28 Hurford Rd, RD4, New Plymouth 4621. Tel: (06) 751 2759. Rangitikei: Chair, Tony Simpson; Secretary, Betty Graham, 41-Tutaenui Rd, Marton. Tel: (06) 327-7008. South Taranaki: Chair, Rex Hartley; Secretary, Lynda Sutherland, 39 High St, Eltham 4657. Tel: (06) 764-7479. Upper Hutt: Chair, Dr Barry Wards; Secretary, Pauline Baty; PO Box 40-875, Upper Hutt. Tel: (04) 971-9739. Wairarapa: Chair, Geoff Doring; Secretary, c/- Mike Lynch, 179 West St, Greytown. Tel: (06) 304-7222. Wanganui: Chair, Stephen Sammons; Secretary, Ray Hutchison, PO Box 4229, Wanganui. Tel: (06) 345-2651. Wellington: Chair, Merrin Pearse; Secretary, Louise Taylor, PO Box 4183, Wellington. Tel: (04) 971-1770.

South Island Ashburton: Chair, Bill Hood; Secretary, Val Clemens, PO Box 460, Ashburton, Tel: (03) 308-5620. Dunedin: Chair, Jane Marshall; Secretary, Mark Hanger, PO Box 5793, Dunedin. Tel: (03) 489-8444. Golden Bay: Chair, Jenny Treloar; Secretary, Jo-Anne Vaughan, Puponga Rd, Ferntown, RD1, Collingwood 7171. Tel: (03) 524-8072. Kaikoura: Chair, Linda Kitchingham; Secretary, Barry Dunnett, Pooles Rd RD1, Kaikoura. Tel: (03) 319-5086. Marlborough: Chair, Andrew John; Secretary, Michael Harvey, PO Box 896, Blenheim. Tel: (03) 577-6086. Nelson/Tasman: Chair, Dr Peter Ballance; Secretary, Bill Sinclair, 280 Hampden St East, Nelson 7001. Tel: (03) 545-7270. North Canterbury: Chair, Lois Griffiths, 48 St Andrews Square, Christchurch 8052. Tel: (03) 355 4715; Email: MandLgriffiths@clear.net.nz Secretary, David Ellison-Smith, 405 Armagh Street Christchurch. Tel: (03) 981-7037; Email: paudin.dev@xtra.co.nz. South Canterbury: Chair, Marijke Bakker-Gelsin; Secretary, Margaret McPherson, 29 Mountain View Road, Timaru. Tel: (03) 686 1494. Southland: Chair, Craig Carson; Secretary: vacant, PO Box 1155, Invercargill. Tel: (03) 213-0732. South Otago: Chair, Carol Botting; Secretary, Verna Gardner, Romahapa Rd, Balclutha. Tel: (03) 418-1819. Upper Clutha: Chair, Barbara Chinn; Secretary, Angela Brown, PO Box 38, Lake Hawea, Central Otago 9192. Tel: (03) 443-8669. Waitaki: Chair, Ross Babington; Secretary, Annette Officer, 21 Arrow Crescent, Oamaru. Tel: (03) 434-6107. West Coast: Secretary/Treasurer, Carolyn Cox, 168 Romilly St, Westport 7601. Tel: (03) 789-5334.

Wellington. Tel: (04) 385-7374, fax: (04) 385-7373. Email: office@ forestandbird.org.nz

dining room, just 20 mins sailing by ferry from the centre of Wellington or 10 mins from Days Bay. Ideal place to relax in beautiful surroundings, with accommodation for 8. Bring your own food and bedding and a torch. Smoking is banned everywhere on the island, including the house. For information sheet, send stamped addressed envelope to: Bill Draper, PO Box 31-194, Lower Hutt. Tel: (04) 569-2542.

lodgeaccommodation Arethusa Cottage An ideal place from which to explore the Far North. Near Pukenui in wetland reserve. 6 bunks, fully equipped kitchen, separate bathroom outside. For information and bookings, contact: John Dawn, Doves Bay Road, RD1, Kerikeri. Tel: (09) 407-8658, fax: (09) 407-1401.

Waiheke Island Cottage Located next to our 49ha Wildlife Reserve, 10 mins walk to Onetangi Beach, general stores etc. Sleeps up to 8 in two bedrooms. Lounge, wellequipped kitchen, separate toilet, bathroom, shower, laundry. Pillows, blankets provided. No pets. Ferries 35 minutes from Auckland. Enquiries with stamped addressed envelope to: Robin Griffiths, 125 The Strand, Onetangi, Waiheke Island. Tel: (09) 372-7662.

William Hartree Memorial Lodge, Hawkes Bay Situated 48km from Napier, 8km past Patoka on the Puketitiri Rd (sealed). The lodge is set amid a 14ha scenic reserve and close to many walks, eg: Kaweka Range, Balls Clearing, Tai Haruru Lodge, Piha, hot springs and museum. The lodge West Auckland accommodates up to 15 people. It has A seaside haven set in a large sheltered a fully equipped kitchen including garden on the rugged West Coast, stove, refrigerator and microwave Ruapehu Lodge, 38km on sealed roads from central plus tile fire, hot showers. Supply Auckland. Close to store, bush reserves Tongariro National Park your own linen, sleeping bags etc. and tracks in the beautiful Waitakere Situated 600 m from Whakapapa Ranges. Double bedroom and 3 Village, at the foot of Mount Ruapehu, For information and bookings please singles, plus large lounge with wood this lodge is available for members and send a stamped addressed envelope to burner, dining area and kitchen. The their friends. It may also be hired out Pam and John Wuts, 15 Durham Ave, self-contained unit has 4 single beds. to other compatible groups by special Tamatea, Napier. Tel: (06) 844-4751 Email: wutsie@xtra.co.nz Bring food, linen and fuel for fire arrangement. It is an ideal base for and BBQ. Booking officer: Patricia tramping, skiing, botanising or visiting Matiu/Somes Island, Thompson, 78 Neil Avenue, Te Atatu the hotpools at Tokaanu. The lodge Wellington Harbour Peninsula, Waitakere City 0610. Tel: holds 32 people in four bunkrooms Joint venture accommodation by (09) 834-7745 after 9am. and provides all facilities except food Lower Hutt Forest and Bird with Off peak rates apply. and bedding. Bookings and inquiries DOC. A modern family home with to Forest and Bird, PO Box 631, kitchen, 3 bedrooms, large lounge and w w w. f o r e s t a n d b i r d . o r g . n z

Tautuku Lodge State Highway 92, Southeast Otago. Situated on Forest and Bird's 550ha Lenz Reserve 32km south of Owaka. A bush setting, and many lovely beaches nearby provide a wonderful base for exploring the Catlins. The lodge, the Coutts cabin and an Aframe sleep 10, 4 and 2 respectively. No Animals. For information and rates please send a stamped addressed envelope to the caretaker: Diana Noonan, Mirren St, Papatowai, Owaka, RD2. Tel: (03) 415-8024, fax (03) 4158244. Email: diana.n@clear.net.nz

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