Successful Toutouwai release on Urupukapuka
On Sunday 29 May, Project Island Song released 30 toutouwai (North Island robins) in Entico Bay, Urupukapuka. This, the second of toutouwai translocations to Ipipiri, was the culmination of ten days hard work in Pureora Forest; the weather was against the team making it extremely difficult to gather the requisite number and gender of birds for translocation to the Bay of Islands.
However, there is nothing like serious mahi to bring people together, and every single person played a critical part in the success of the project. You can see portraits of some of those individuals at work in Pureora on our Facebook page. Below, we have a gallery of images of Sunday's release, taken by photographer Dean Wright.
Fortunately on the day of the release - after a long journey by road from Pureora - the skies cleared, the sun shone and the bird's passage out to the islands, whilst a bit rugged, seemed not to affect them unduly. The tamariki were able to help open the boxes and watch the robins fly to the treetops of their new home. The release was dedicated to kaimahi Teina Hook who passed away earlier this year. At the conclusion of the release, Teina’s whanau unveiled a pou to remember him and his contribution to the restoration of Ipipiri.
Acknowledgement and thanks goes to Richard Robbins for his careful planning, to Kevin Parker who ran the translocation with his team from Parker Conservation, and to Rana Rewha who coordinated the catching at Pureora. They were supported by an enthusiastic team who spent a challenging week pre-feeding, catching and caring for the birds - BJ Black, Rob MacPherson, Russell Hook, Blandy Witehira, Debby Bayens and Dean Wright from Te Rawhiti/Project Island Song; Alice Hosted, Helen Ough Dealy, Phil Brown and Jamie Werner from the Department of Conservation; Richard Cook from Te Rarawa/Warawara; Ali Beath from DOC Taranaki/Project Taranaki Maunga. Thanks also to Hone and Gloria Matenga who travelled to Pureora to support tikanga. And to Kelvin Stanley from Rereahu - the gifting iwi - who travelled north with the birds and is staying for a while to see them settle in their new home.
It’s also important to extend thanks to the people who “stayed home” to keep working on the ever-important island biosecurity and pest control – Vicki Heta, Charlie and Hane Rewha and Andrew Blanshard from DOC. Without this, there would be no bird translocations.
Thanks to Fullers GreatSights and Explore Group for their on-going commitment to Project Island Song and conservation in the Bay; to Air NZ Environment Trust and Lotteries who helped fund the translocation; and to Wilderness Campervans and DOC for transport and other logistical support.