Kiwi Translocation Postponed
For more than 10 years, the Tamahunga Trappers have been increasing predator control measures and engaging in other efforts to facilitate the translocation of kiwi onto Mt Tamahunga.
The Tamahunga forest is a significant local landmark, is a critical cultural site for Ngāti Manuhiri, harbours high biodiversity values, including locally rare and threatened species, and forms the upper catchment for several important waterways. The forest currently comprises a matrix of protected land in the Tamahunga Ecological Reserve, Ngāti Manuhiri Scientific Reserve, private conservation covenant and other privately owned lands. Over several decades land has been legally protected and reserved, extensive fencing has been undertaken to exclude stock, goats have been eradicated and possums have been controlled to low densities.
In 2010, the Tamahunga Trappers was formed with the intention of protecting, restoring and advocating for Tamahunga, essentially restoring the mauri of Tamahunga. The group began with 54 traps and now have over 225 traps, on 8 trapping circuits over the maunga (mountain), plus many neighbours undertake additional trapping. To date over 2200 predators have been removed from the maunga.
One of the major goals for the Tamahunga Trappers is to protect the forest, by predator control, to a level such that native species can be reintroduced, starting with kiwi.
The first of three kiwi translocations was scheduled for March 2022, but after meeting with their Translocation Partners, Te Papa Atawhai/Department of Conservation and the Ngāti Manuhiri Settlement Trust, it was decided that, due to circumstances beyond the Tamahunga Trappers’ control, the translocation cannot go ahead in 2022.
With only days to go before the kiwi were to be collected from Motuora Island, the news was a disappointment for everyone involved in the translocation, all the supporters and the local community.
The Tamahunga Trappers’ team will be working on a new translocation plan and hopefully have a new date in the near future to share with all of their supporters, stakeholders and the community. “This will allow time to increase protection for a wider range of species, enhancing the protection of the general ecosystem on Mt Tamahunga,” says David Wilson, the group’s Chairperson. This was the kaupapa (purpose) of the group from the beginning.
Want to get involved? There has been considerable interest in and support for the translocation in the community around the maunga. The Trappers hope that support will continue as the group carries on moving forward on its journey to restore kiwi to a significant local ecological area. For more information contact Nicole at firstname.lastname@example.org.