We were thrilled that the kids from Taipa Area School again helped out in our annual kiwi call count. The annual national kiwi count survey is done right across the country to monitor kiwi population numbers. Whakaangi advocates spent many hours in May and June out between dusk and 10/11pm counting male and female calls. Shelly Dormer from Taipa Area School once again volunteered to come and assist with a bunch of excited and caring kids. Many thanks Taipa Area School! Not only did they learn a lot, have a great kiwi experience - they also made the newspaper! (The results of the survey are just about ready to release - our numbers are UP!)
The National Kiwi Hui, organised by Kiwisforkiwi took place near Whangarei in May. Convenor Steve Scott and Trustee Bruce Jarvis represented Whakaangi.
The two day event was jam-packed with expert speakers and loads of sharing of experience, tips and tricks from the 60 kiwi projects represented. Keynote speaker, Al Bramley from Zero Invasive Predators dangled the tantalising prospect of a completely predator free peninsular (the concept gaining gasps of admiration for its bravura when we understood the peninsular in his mind was the whole of either the North or South Islands!).
There was a ton of technical information on offer as experience on new trapping, baiting was offered and concepts like greater understanding of pest behaviour in order to better eradicate were showcased.
National Kiwisforkiwi Co-ordinator Michelle Impey highlighted that this October is again going to be National Save Kiwi Month and threw down the challenge for us all to use October as an anchor month for our advocacy activities. We will certainly be taking up the challenge!
Martin Hunt from Whangarei's impressive Backyard Kiwi project gave us an insight into how their excellent advocacy and community work has allowed them such a strong connection with their local communities that when they put the call out to help them lay 1080 in bait stations on Mt Manaia over 70 enthusiasts turned out.
Our very own project advisor Wendy Sporle gave a spirited reminder to us all of the dangers of dogs to kiwi and how very tricky it can be to achieve good awareness in local communities.
We were heartened by achieving a greater understanding that most projects around the country, like ours, are predominantly based on private land. In one case that recently came to national prominence the project is just one large farm (Kapiti Kiwi), meaning one single farming family is driving a whole project. What was common was the ever-present need for funding, the constant challenge to achieve a strong understanding and connection with local communities. It was interesting to note that a significant number of projects were being successful in expanding their project areas. This is something that we would like to achieve with Whakaangi.
The Hui threw up quite a number of challenges for us to work on. We came back with strong resolve around:
* reinvigorating our brand and our "public name"
* building a programme of work and advocacy that will provide a platform for us to build much stronger relationships with our local communities
* create much greater advocacy programmes and have more opportunities for people to connect with us and kiwi
* create a long term plan to expand our project area and to spread our great outcomes to ever-wider kiwi populations and biodiversity ecosystems
* do more work to understand our kiwi population (and other species) in greater detail.
We look forward to keeping you posted on these projects as we progress.
The great work that Whakaangi has done over the years was reviewed in the February edition of the Dawn Chorus. Dawn Chorus is the official magazine of the friends of Tiritirimatangi Island in Auckland's Hauraki Gulf harbour. It is very nice to have such wholesome recognition of our special work. You can read the article on our Facebook page facebook.com/KiwisOfWhakaangi
A very big thank you to the ASB Community Trust who have provided just over $12,000 for extra pest and predator control work over the summer months. This will allow us considerable scope to tackle the ongoing problems of dangerous predators such as stoats.
We were saddened to discover that two dogs had been left to roam and wreaked havoc inside our project area, killing at least three of our precious kiwi. Dogs are kiwis most dangerous predators. One dog can have a devastating impact. We have been working closely with the Far North District Council to ensure that the dog's owner understands the responsibilities that dog ownership has with regards our national living taonga.
We were very excited to hear of a pair of dotterels nesting on a beach on the project area. These are such rare birds, that we feel very proud to have them with us. Because they are so rare, we sent one of our resident photographers Bruce Jarvis to capture them on camera. Their location remains secret!
We were thrilled to learn that our application for some top up funds from Pub Charity has been accepted. The funds will be used to provide approx. 92 extra hours of trapping over the period from Dec. to Feb. 2013. Our pest programme is at the heart of our success and so we are always grateful for funding that means we can get our trappers out there even more.
Due to the generosity of an anonymous donor, our trappers have a new base. We were able to arrange a shipping container which is used as a make-shift workshop and bait storage facility. We are very grateful to our donor for their generous contribution to our work.
We held captive audiences at the Northland Field Days event in Dargaville recently. Our stand attracted great interest and we were blown away by how many people were desperate for information and also just how many were eager to know how they could do something positive (or stop something harmful) for kiwis on their farms.