Kōhanga passionate about whio

Nina Mercer —  04/08/2015

In terms of conservation gains, community contributions make a huge difference for our endangered species.

Whio/blue duck is a case in point. Since starting as a ranger in Palmerston North 18 months ago I have met several groups dedicated to protecting whio in the Ruahine Forest Park.

Whio. Photo: Sabine Bernert ©.

Whio/blue duck

Hāpaitia Kōhanga is one of these groups. Each year they perform a fundraiser kapa haka performance, with money raised going towards whio protection in the Ōroua Valley.

The new Te Kura o Kauwhata joined them this year putting on an impressive performance.

Not only does this raise funds, it also raises community awareness of this unique species. Less than 3000 whio now survive in the wild.

Hāpaitia Kōhanga kapa haka performance.

Hāpaitia Kōhanga kapa haka performance

Hāpaitia Kōhanga is passionate about whio. The Ōroua River flows close to their Kōhanga in Feilding, so there is a real sense of connection for them.

Hāpaitia Kōhanga kapa haka performance.

Hāpaitia Kōhanga raising money for whio recovery

DOC and the Ruahine Whio Protection Trust are grateful for the Kōhanga’s efforts and we recently visited Hāpaitia Kōhanga and presented the kaiako/teacher and tamariki/children with Ruahine Whio Protector hats sponsored by Fonterra and local Palmerston North business Merino on Main.

The kōhanga in Ruahine Whio Protector hats.

The kōhanga in Ruahine Whio Protector hats

Ruahine Whio Protection Trust is a group of dedicated volunteers who are working incredibly hard to ensure the survival of whio in the Ruahine Forest Park.

Ruahine Whio Protection Trust volunteers.

Ruahine Whio Protection Trust volunteers.

Last year the Trust was able to buy 13 new traps with the money raised by the Kōhanga, which the Kōhanga then personalised with their own design.

Andrew Mercer, MacLean Mercer and Janet Wilson lay out the kōhanga traps.

Andrew Mercer, MacLean Mercer and Janet Wilson lay out the kōhanga traps

The Trust recently laid these traps out in the Ōroua Valley to start the important work of trapping predators.

Without community support from groups like Hāpaitia Kōhanga, the work to protect our whio wouldn’t be possible.

Nina Mercer

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Nina is a Partnerships Ranger based in Palmerston North who has worked in conservation for more than twenty years. She has a passion for our natural environment and loves exploring the outdoors, especially with her family.

2 responses to Kōhanga passionate about whio

  1. 

    Fantastic! Tino pai Hapaitia Kohanga.

  2. 

    Great to see the young people so involved with conservation in NZ – start them young and it will give them a better appreciation of what we have and hopefully continue through into their adult lives.