Newly Established Taheke Landcare

(Published on 10th October 2013)

NZ Landcare Trust's Northland office has been supporting the local community by helping gather together local landowners along with representatives from Department of Conservation, Northland Regional Council, QEII Trust and Hancock Forest Management to form the new Taheke Landcare Group. Excitingly, this is the first Landcare Group to form as part of the new Kiwi Coast project.

Founding group member Ian Page describes the Taheke catchment as a beautiful area that drains a mosaic of farmland, bush and plantation into one of the least spoiled estuaries on the east coast of Northland.

Ian adds "Thirty years ago there were kiwi throughout the area but predators have reduced them to a few enclaves in the more remote parts of the catchment. All around the catchment from Whangarei Heads through Pataua North, Tutukaka, Ngunguru and Mt Tiger there are Landcare groups focussing on predator control and building viable populations of kiwi and many other native birds. So successful have these been that kiwi are starting to push out from the protected areas to find new territory. Inevitably they meet predators as they explore.”

The aim of the fledgling Landcare Group  is to care for the forest, river and wildlife, especially kiwi which are resident nearby. They have achieved a great deal in a relatively short timeframe - despite first meeting in mid-August, the group is already well underway, with initiatives such as a Kiwi Aversion Dog Training Workshop, that aims to train dogs to avoid kiwi, and in doing so prevent kiwi deaths. In Northland, dogs are the main killer of adult kiwi, reducing the average age of kiwi from 50 down to just 13 years. The group is also working with NZ LandcareTrust to host a Local Trapper Workshop. These popular workshops bring together local professional trappers to share information and knowledge on the behaviour and biology of key animal pests such as rats, possums, stoats, weasels, and feral cats. A range of traps are also demonstrated, and participants are able to get ‘hands-on’ with the traps to see which ones they would like to use themselves, and which are best left to the professionals.

Ian points out, “A glance at the map quickly shows how important the Taheke catchment is as a natural corridor. Predator free, it would allow safe migration of kiwi from the healthy populations that community groups have so carefully built and protected around us.”

Kiwi Coast Project Co-ordinator Ngarie Tyson explained this is a big step for the project, "As Taheke Landcare establish their traplines, a key gap in the trapping network is filled, and the dream of kiwi safely moving around NZ’s first kiwi corridor is one vital step closer."

Eventually, the Taheke Landcare Group may extend its work to cover the whole Taheke river catchment. With Taheke’s strategic thinking and enthusiasm for action, this new group will be one to watch!

The Kiwi Coast project forms part of the broader Reconnecting Northland Initiative, delivered jointly by NZ Landcare Trust and WWF-NZ. Reconnecting Northland is a Northland-wide ecological restoration project and the first of its kind at this scale in New Zealand. 



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