DOC’s Anita Tibbertsma writes about the 25 year celebrations of Kākāpō Recovery and the launch of a new competition to win a trip to Codfish Island.
“This season the conditions are ripe, it looks like it will be a great breeding season for the Kākāpō Recovery Programme”, Programme Manager Deidre Vercoe explains to the audience gathered at Zealandia to celebrate 25 years of support from New Zealand’s Aluminium Smelter (NZAS).
Her words are met with applause, and recognition of the contribution both NZAS, and Kākāpō Recovery partner Forest and Bird, have invested into bringing the kākāpō back from the brink of extinction. Their effort, and the absolute dedication of the Kākāpō Recovery Team and their volunteers, has seen the programme pioneering conservation techniques to become a world class conservation programme.
Clearly the experience of partnering with the kākāpō team has left a lasting impression on the staff of NZAS. CEO Gretta Stephens elaborates in her speech: “I’ll never forget watching the young kākāpō chicks waddle into the darkness on Codfish Island. I can only equate it to saying goodbye to your kids on their first day of school. It’s a moment that stays with you forever.”
Stephens continues by explaining NZAS staff continue to volunteer their own time to help with supplementary feeding, nest-minding and maintenance on the kākāpō inhabited islands.
Deidre uses the opportunity for a quick plug, “We still need volunteers this season, so if you are interested get in touch.”
The volunteer experience with the kākāpō, is commonly referred to as an ‘unforgettable’ one.
The event is timed with Sirocco’s visit to Zealandia. Invitees have the opportunity to meet our famous Spokesbird for Conservation and kākāpō ambassador as he completes his six week stint meeting visitors in Wellington.
In the spirit of the celebration, Deidre announced a competition in partnership with NZAS for two friends to be ‘Kākāpō Rangers’ for a day. The winner will travel to Whenua Hou/Codfish Island to meet Sirocco’s kin, and experience the kākāpō story first hand.
“NZAS has really got to know its most vulnerable neighbour the kākāpō and we’d like to share that experience with others,” says NZAS Director External Relations Jennifer Nolan. Kākāpō are very special birds – they are quite mysterious and very spiritual; you feel that wairua/spirit come off them straight away.”
The vision of Kākāpō Recovery is to one day have so many kākāpō that they can be returned to their rightful place in our native ecosystem – kākāpō in the valleys and peaks around our towns and cities, their booming echoing across them at night. It’s a goal that unites all New Zealanders and a goal that we can’t achieve without our partners.
To enter the competition to meet Sirocco’s kin, head to the Kākāpō Recovery website.