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Protecting our precious places

Coromandel Peninsula - bringing back birdlife

From the mountains to the sea

Bringing back birdlife to the east coast of Coromandel Peninsula

A coastal forest sequence from sea level to 500m at Port Charles on the Coromandel Peninsula is protected by neighbouring covenants.

Bruce and Anne Clegg’s 255ha Tangiaro Valley covenant and Lettecia Williams and Diane Prince’s 159ha covenant connect to an approved covenant and an area with a Thames-Coromandel District Council covenant.

Map of connecting covenants

Above: The connecting QEII covenants at Port Charles on the Coromandel Peninsula

Tangiaro Kiwi Retreat at dusk

Above: Tangiaro Kiwi Retreat at dusk. Photo: Tangiaro Kiwi Retreat

Forest at Tangiaro Kiwi RetreatRight: Kauri-broadleaved forest protected by the covenant. Photo: Tangiaro Kiwi Retreat

‘When Anne and I first saw Tangiaro, our first thoughts were to make sure the natural beauty of the surroundings were maintained for future generations,’ says Bruce Clegg.

‘Later we decided we wanted to share the beauty with others and developed this retreat.’

For more about
Tangiaro Kiwi Retreat ...


Biodiversity hotspot

With the second highest population density of North Island brown kiwi in the Coromandel and good populations of Archey's and Hochstetter's frogs, North Island kaka and pateke (brown teal), the forest is a biodiversity hotspot.

The covenants are in the Department of Conservation’s Moehau Kiwi Sanctuary zone and have had one of the highest kiwi chick survival rates in this project.

The landowners also work with DOC, Environment Waikato and the Moehau Environment Group (MEG) in trapping and baiting programmes to eliminate predators, known as MEG's Rat Attack project.

Lettecia Williams, MEG’s chairperson, says that 2,600 rat traps have been set on 350ha over the last four years.

‘With the rat control and comprehensive control of other pests, we can work towards our vision of bringing back species that have been lost locally,’ she explains.

North Island robin Photo: Crown Copyright, Department of Conservation The aim of Toutouwai - Robin's Return, a project involving DOC, iwi, MEG and the local community, is to create a self-sustaining population of North Island robins in the area.

Right: North Island robin, toutouwai Petroica australis longipes with food in beak. Photo: Crown Copyright, Department of Conservation

Volunteers and family groups have given about 600 hours to this project.

On 8 April 2009, MEG volunteers and DOC staff released sixty robins translocated from Pureora in two groups of thirty, one at Stony Bay and one at Port Charles.

‘It has been great watching the robins settle into their new home,’ says Lettecia.

‘MEG is now working with DOC on collecting information for a sound anchoring trial being carried out by Waikato University.

'This will provide information about the effectiveness of using pre-recorded audio taken from the birds’ home habitat to anchor the birds to their new habitat.’

Release of robins

Above: At the North Island robin release site: Joe Harawera, Terry Whitehouse, Ken Nummy and Lettecia Williams. Photo: Supplied by Lettecia Williams

Release of robins

Above: Moehau Environment Group members and Port Charles residents at the North Island robin release site in Lettecia Williams and Diane Prince’s covenant. Photo: Supplied by Lettecia Williams.

For more information about this project visit Moehau Environment Group or Department of Conservation Toutouwai - Robin's Return

Benefits of a community working together

Hamish Kendal, QEII Coromandel Regional Representative, adds that this project shows the benefits of a community working together to sustain pest management.

‘The forest ecosystem from the mountains to the sea is recovering well, allowing threatened species to thrive,’ he says.

Pateke are returning to the waterways

Above: Pateke (brown teal) are returning to the waterways in the QEII covenants. Photo: Tangiaro Kiwi Retreat

Open SpaceTM Magazine No. 76, July 2009 © QEII National Trust

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