Tieke return to Ipipiri
Forty tieke (North Island saddleback) were welcomed to Ipipiri in late March by local hapu Ngati Kuta and Patukeha and Project Island Song partners, volunteers and supporters. Twenty birds were released at Otehei Bay on Urupukapuka Island and twenty more at Ohutopu (Homestead) Bay on Moturua. The birds arrived by helicopter from Mauimua (Lady Alice) Island, each to a powhiri and celebration of the latest species to be returned as part of the Project Island Song restoration.
Richard Robbins who coordinated the project was hugely relieved to see the first lot of birds land safely and fly out of the boxes onto their new island home. Dr Kevin Parker led the catching, caring, banding and release of the birds. Rana and Alvin Rewha from Te Rawhiti were part of the catching team on Mauimua. Rana and Kevin travelled to Ipipiri with the birds and Rana was able to oversee their release into Otehei Bay. Kevin carried on to Moturua and released the remaining birds into the same site that toutouwai were released last year.
A further forty tieke will arrive in late May – this time from Tiritiri Matangi - and again be divided between the two Ipipiri islands. This will provide genetic diversity that should be useful for future populations elsewhere.
The tieke translocation was supported by Air NZ Environment Trust, the Department of Conservation, Explore Group and private donations. A happy celebration was enjoyed by all.