Quammen and Te Hoiere, may be a couple of ‘dud’ takahē when it comes to breeding, but at Orokonui Ecosanctuary near Dunedin, they are being hailed as ambassadors for conservation.
Their arrival is being celebrated as a great example of what can be achieved by partnerships like the one between the Orokonui Ecosanctuary, DOC, local iwi, and Mitre 10 Takahē Rescue.
The two takahē travelled by boat, car and plane to Dunedin from Maud Island in the Marlborough Sounds last Tuesday. Under the watchful eye of media and about 25 invited guests, the birds were released into the Ecosanctuary—a project of the Otago Natural History Trust. Ecosanctuary operations manager Chris Baillie said it had taken a long time and much work to get the birds to the Ecosanctuary, and to see them arrive was like a “dream come true.”
With Mitre 10 (who sponsor the takahē recovery programme) and DOC working together to renew and refresh Mitre 10 Takahē Rescue, national chairman and Mitre 10 MEGA Dunedin owner Martin Dippie was keen for his store to get involved with Orokonui Ecosanctuary by supporting it as a new home for takahē.
His store provided materials for a new enclosure, which Mitre 10 staff enthusiastically spent a day helping the Ecosanctuary to build.
“The event at Orokonui went really well with a number of groups working together to give the birds a warm welcome to their new home. It was great to work closely with DOC, Orokonui, and local iwi, further developing our relationships,” said Mr Dippie.”
“At Mitre 10 we’re eager to continue to develop our partnership at a more local level with DOC, and in Dunedin we will further build our relationship with Orokonui to help support Te Hoiere and Quammen in their new home.”
Mr Dippie was on hand to release Quammen into the new enclosure, while Kati Huirapa Runaka ki Puketeraki iwi representative Hoata Holmes released Te Hoiere. Mitre 10 staff also joined a public event to celebrate the arrival of the takahē into Dunedin on Sunday, providing a marquee and BBQ for fundraising.
Te Anau Area Manager Reg Kemper said the transfer of takahē to Orokonui was a credit to the takahē team, whose focus was on building the national takahē population, creating new sites for takahē, and working in partnership with Mitre 10 to increase the support for takahē conservation.
“This transfer ticks all the boxes,” said Reg. “The team have managed to remove a couple of non-breeding birds from Maud Island, freeing up space for breeding birds. By providing the Ecosanctuary with the takahē, they have created a golden opportunity for more New Zealanders to get up close and appreciate these unique birds; they’re supporting our partners, fostering relationships between our partners and at the end of the day its all increasing support for conservation.”