‘Getting involved’ this Conservation Week? For many in the beautiful Ipipiri, the Eastern Bay of Islands, it’s been more a case of “got involved,” and see what we did! At a gathering to celebrate the opening of a dedicated Project Island Song eco-centre on the stunning Urupukapuka Island last Friday (September 11, 2009), DOC’s Bay area manager, Rolien Elliot, noted that the project was a brilliant example of enthusiastic and hard-working volunteers and agencies ‘getting involved.’
The idea for Project Island Song began about five years ago when then Kerikeri resident Lynette Smith knocked on DOC’s door, eager to talk about restoring bird and plant life in the eastern Bay of Islands. Lynette’s passion was such that the department couldn’t possibly refuse her offer to rattle up volunteers to help, or her request that DOC manage a major pest eradication project before any restoration took place.
Hui were held, homework was done, Ngati Kuta and Patukeha – iwi at Te Rawhiti – embraced the opportunity; tourism interests became excited, and a trip to the bird-song drenched island of Tiritiri Matangi in the Hauraki Gulf put paid to any hesitations.
Now, after years of careful project planning, complex resource consents and a successful pest eradication programme in June, the way is clear for the Guardians of the Bay to clear weeds and plant for birds. To top it off Explore NZ, the new lease-holders at the world famous Zane Grey Resort in Otehei Bay on Urupukapuka Island, have made available a building for use as an eco-centre.
Yes of course there is room for more involvement! If you live around the Bay, the Guardians of the Bay would love to harness some of your energy. And when you’re visiting the islands in the Bay – to swim, sail, kayak or camp in this wonderful Northland playground – please do a pest-check to make sure that you’re not bringing with you any rats, ants or weed-seeds. See you soon!