Decade of Successful Landcare

(Published on 19th December 2012)


The McLeod Bay Hall in Northland was packed when the Whangarei Heads community recently gathered to celebrate 10 years of landcare with the Whangarei Heads Landcare Forum (WHLF). The event was supported by NZ Landcare Trust (NZLT) regional staff Jon Hampson and Ngaire Tyson. Two members of the NZLT Board of Trustees also added their support to the celebration; Richard thompson, Chair from Ecologic and Federated Farmers representative Ian Mackenzie.

Philip King, Chair of the WHLF acknowledged that Whangarei Heads has always been a special place, with special people prepared to stand up and work for the area. The Whangarei Heads Landcare Forum acts as a platform for Landcare groups and individuals working on landcare projects in the area. The Forum provides an excellent opportunity for people to get together, share ideas and work cooperatively.  

Philip informed attendees, “It’s amazing to see the breadth and range of projects that have been carried out over the past decade. Nearly 100,000 native plants have been planted from local & community nurseries. Thanks to our possum control we are getting to the stage where we can boast that there are more kiwi than possums at the Heads. Massive weed control efforts mean that the Heads no longer has the dubious honour of being the ‘Weed Capital of New Zealand.’ And over 500 mustelids have been trapped. This, along with good dog control has seen our  kiwi population grow from just 80 in 2002 to at least 400 now,”

Richard Thompson, Chair of the NZ Landcare Trust also congratulated the gathering, noting that the area was one of  the first to establish a Landcare group in New Zealand. He paid tribute to the sheer effort, dedication, commitment and passion that had been poured into each and every achievement by all those present.

Guest Speaker, Al Bramley (Head of Research and Development for the Department of Conservation) congratulated the Forum on their many achievements and challenged the Landcare groups to ‘raise the bar’ and keep going once initial goals have been achieved. He also stressed the importance of involving youth in outdoor activities. Becoming involved in outdoors sports and activities can lead to an understanding of the natural world, which can foster a love of nature and an increased sense of stewardship.

The efforts and achievements of the eight project groups that currently comprise the forum were all recognised. Each in turn acknowledged the WHLF for provision of a platform of support, coordination and, communication. Many other individuals also contribute to keeping Whangarei Heads the special place it is.

The 10 year celebration was marked with the release of two more Backyard Kiwi prints. Heather Hunt’s unique and evocative prints are now spread far and wide throughout the world, a true ambassador for the Whangarei Heads Landcare Forum Backyard Kiwi Project and what can be achieved with community commitment. Now the Calling Kiwi and Foraging Kiwi can be added to collections.

A newly released childrens book called ‘Kiwi – the Real Story’ written by Anne-Marie Florian with illustrations by Heather Hunt was also celebrated. This much awaited vibrant children's picture book was inspired by kiwi living and breeding  at Whangarei Heads 

“A decade is a long time for a community group to maintain its enthusiasm, drive and commitment. We were thrilled to have the hall packed with local people having a much deserved celebration after years of hard work,” concluded Philip.

For more information, or to purchase a kiwi print for your living room, check out

Further information about the WHLF, including the specific Landcare Groups invloved and the story of Lambert the kiwi, is available here>



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