You may ask why?
Well there is NO wharf, jetty or means for a graceful descent. I had been told horror stories of swimming ashore and turning back for the mainland if the weather was too rough.
I like to consider myself pretty tough but the thought of jumping off a boat in rough sea and swimming ashore holding my dry bags just created more grey hairs!
Luckily enough we were able to land in calm conditions (which was really surprising considering the rough trip we had endured on the way over)
I think the best way to explain how you get onshore is to do it with photos-
|This is the Norma Jean, this is the charter boat we travelled on. Can you see the small platform at the back of the boat? This gets put down flat when the anchor is dropped, we then hop from the big boat onto a smaller boat.|
|This was another charter boat that came over to the island while we were there. In this picture you can see the small boat just leaving the larger boat.|
|The small boat lines up with the gangway and heads towards the carridge.|
|And off you climb at the top. |
It was lovely to be waiting at the top of the gangway when Melissa, Jenny, Mike and Murray arrived on the island.
I've talked a lot about the bird's acommadation and food in earlier posts so thought I should show you a few photos of the human's :)
|One of the 2 bunkrooms.|
|The dining room table ... most nights there were at least 16 and one night we had 21!|
|The back porch area|
|The kitchen. Was set up with all the basic stuff you could want. Graham (pictured) was always willing to help me out in the kitchen! Especially cooking our daily dose of very freshly caught SNAPPER!!!|
|Another view of the back porch. It wasn't unusual to have Kereru and Robin hoping about on this grass |
and decking while I was there.
|An example of dinner.... curries and fresh snapper this particular night.|
|The bunkhouse from the front lawn.|
|This photo was taken from exactly the same spot as the last photo but looking out towards the main land.|
One of the very special moments on the island for me was the day that the birds were blessed by local iwi, Ngati Manuhiri. Sheree, Rangi and Moihra travelled to the island on Thursday.
It was a lovely experience to have them with us. Nga manu (maori for birds) are Tane's creatures and are hugely significant in Maori culture.
In maori culture each bird has special significane and a role in the world. I have mentioned in an earlier post a little about our two birds.
If you would like to know more Maori stories about the popokatea or tieke click on the links below
Having local iwi involved in translocations is vitally important. It shows respect for their tangata whenua status and our understanding of how important maori customs are.
A very special part of this story is how Sheree and Rangi travelled to Taranaki on the Friday and were hosted by Ngati Tupaia (Lake Rotokare's local iwi.) The two iwi both said karakia and joined in with the release of the birds.
This is a very special part of the journey, the handing over of guardianship from one people to another.
|Simon taking a few moments to share the significance of what this translocation|
means to the Rotokare Community and the people of Taranaki, in the foreground of the photo are Rangi and Sherree from Ngati Tupaia.
So that brings my blogs about Hauturu to an end. I know I have said it many times already but I just cannot express how priviledged I feel to have been part of this journey. It really has been a life changing experience. I have grown to love our native birds, I want learn more and help with educating people about them. I want to continue helping at Lake Rotokare to keep the beautiful sanctuary healthy so we can bring more speices back to Taranaki. The people that I was lucky enough to work with were amazing. Their passion for conservation and the birds is infectious. I hope that I can keep in contact with the team in the future so I can continue to learn from them and hopefully get them involved in my teaching so that my students can learn from them as well.
I have said it before and I will say it again- He aha te mea nui? He tangata, he tangata, he tangata (what is the most important thing? it is people, it is people, it is people.
I have found myself gazing into the skies alot over the last few weeks in search of our new Rotokare residents. Yesterday as I was walking to my car I saw a small flock of popokatea flying about down on the grass area in front of the office. I was sooooo incredibly excited to see this. Many other sightings have happened in the last couple of weeks for both species of birds which is awesome.
It tells us that they have settled into their new home.
One of the biggest science skills I have learnt more about through this translocation is about observation. I have learnt to take the time to listen and to look- with my eyes open and my ears switched on. I had never taken the time to notice so many things about the native birds that call Rotokare home.
Since returning to Rotokare I have found myself taking the time to stop and look and listen. I can identify so many different birds now just by their calls and can usually spot the bird as well!!
One thing is for sure, walks around the sanctuary are going to take a whole lot longer in the future!!!
Now the focus turns to next week .... the translocation of 40 tieke from Bushy Park and the big event on Saturday the 31st when the birds are officially welcomed into their new home.
I CAN'T WAIT!!!Watch this space!