Thursday, 15 May 2014

Te Hauturu-o-Toi / Little Barrier Island. Part One of the Tieke Transloaction

The translocation of Tieke is taking place in 2 parts. The first is from Hauturu and the second is from Bushy Park (a sanctuary near Wanganui.)

Why do we need to do it in 2 stages you may ask? The answer is simple, genetics.

Because we want a healthy population that will breed, we need to get the genetics as diverse as we can. With the birds all stemming from one population only 50 years ago, the genetics aren't hugely different but even a small margin of difference will improve the health of the population.

Hauturu-o-Toi / Little Barrier Island is a 3083 hectare sanctuary that is looked after by the Department of Conservation. It was New Zealand's first nature reserve, being given this status in 1895. It is home to around 400 different speicies of plants/ trees, some that are now not seen on the mainland. It is home to 40 species of birds permanently (or seasonally present,) two bat species and 14 species of reptiles. It is the most diverse range of native fauna in New Zealand.
(information sourced from DOC website)

If you are interested in learning more about Hauturu please follow this link-


Te-Hauturu-o-Toi. Little Barrier Island.  

The Hauturu translocation was a collaborative project between Rotokare and the Auckland Zoo (who were translocating the same birds for their Rotoroa Island Project)
The translocation was being managed by Kevin Parker (Parker Conservation.) Have a look at his website if you want to know why Kevin was the best person for the job.

I was lucky enough to be part of the team from Rotokare that went to Hauturu to help catch the birds.
I cannot express in words (or any other way) how priviledged I felt to be given this opportunity to go. Hauturu is a conservationist's mecca. It's a place you hear about, read about and dream about visiting but very few people ever get to visit.
Entry onto the island is by permit only and you have to have a really valid reason for going over.

There were 14 people in the team, with 6 people swapping half way through. Rotokare provided the cook for the first week (me) and 2 catch team members, and Auckland Zoo provided the cook for the second week and 2 catch team members. The rest of the team were made up of Kevin's colleagues. These were incredibly experienced, knowledgable people with many, many, many translocations between them. The thing that impressed me the most was how willing they all were to share their knowledge and experience with those of us who had little of either when it comes to birds.
Add to the team the DOC staff who live on the island and we had a fantastic bunch of people to work alongside.

Everyone had a vital part to play in the translocation. Read on to find out more!

The Rotokare Team (Simon had already returned to Taranaki when this was taken) From left, Jenny, Chauncy, Murray, Mike, Me, Melissa. On day 6 it was time for Chauncy and I to head home. There was a few hours between boat trips for all of us to spend some time together. It was lovely to see some of our Rotokare family!!

Rotokare Team One- Chauncy, Simon and Me.

Once again the logistics of a trip away were a little stressful but I am hugely thankful to my mum (Zelda) for looking after Emma and good friends Ange & Glenn Thompson for looking after Ryan.
The kids were super excited about me going away (which was really nice) as we have been talking about the birds for a long time.
When I told Ryan that I was going on the trip, he cried. He cried because he really wanted to come as well! I think that says loudly how my passion for Rotokare is rubbing off on my kids.
It was nice to go away knowing that my children were supportive of what I was doing.

Preparing to go to the island was in itself a big adventure! We received lists of what to bring and not to bring and information on what needs to be sterilized etc. We were told to pack things into dry bags and be prepared to swim ashore if the weather was not suitable for a normal landing ... I began to get rather worried about what I was getting myself in for!

Then the menu planning started .... the shopping list grew and grew and grew! One of the most interesting parts of the food planning was having to do an online order for all the non perishable food 2 weeks before we left. This was so it could be delivered to DOC in Devonport, put through quarantine and then sail to the island on a ferry that was going out 5 days before us.
I was super nervous in the days leading up to going as I was really worried that I hadn't planned well enough and that I would have forgotten something!
When we arrived in Warkworth we went off to the supermarket to purchase all the perishables (and beer) Armed with shopping lists and trolleys and a RV point of the beer fridge we set off.
I'm not sure what the checkout operator thought when we arrived at his checkout with 5 trolleys overflowing with food!
At this point we were still enjoying the shopping

5 trolleys later, we were totally over shopping and ready for dinner.
I think quarantine comes next .....
As I have already mentioned, not just anyone can go to Hauturu. Entry is by permit only. Before you can travel to the island you have to go through quarantine. This was done at the Warkworth DOC office. Everything is checked over thoroughly by trained staff. With the volume of gear that was being taken it took from 7:00 in the morning until almost lunchtime to get everything checked. While we waited it was a good chance to get to know the others.
Even the beer had to be unloaded and checked.

Socks getting thoroughly checked over. It's amazing how easy it is for seeds to get trapped into your socks without you knowing.

Chauncy getting his gear checked over...

Simon having his turn with DOC staff.

Once quarantine was finished we headed off to the island. I'm not much of a sailor and I didn't enjoy the trip at all! However, it was a small consulation when others (who have made the trip regularly) said that it was one of the worst trips they have had as well.

Once we got to the island and off loaded, we had to go through the quarantine process all over again.
Getting gear ready for another round of quarantine. Everyone was allowed to help with this check which made the process a lot faster.

The Hauturu quarantine hut

I think there were 4 trailor loads worth of gear that were taken off the boat. This included all the food, personal gear and the equipment we needed to catch the birds.

So, there we are. We are on the island. Next post will be about everything to do with the birds.
Thanks for reading.

1 comment:

  1. Julz, that is such a great account of your trip, its a great record for future visitors to the island. I really enjoyed reading it. Hopefully Ryan and Emma will get to go there too one day