Bringing back the birdsong, note by note

Department of Conservation —  26/06/2017

The Project Island Song partnership, made up of community group Guardians of the Bay of Islands, local hapū Ngāti Kuta and Patukeha and DOC, teamed up with Kerikeri Shade House volunteers for a busy day on June 13.


Photo: Darren Markin

Due to an ominous weather forecast a long-planned kākāriki release was brought forward to the same day as a large logistical exercise to transport plants to the islands of the eastern Bay of Islands (Ipipiri). An enthusiastic contingent of Guardians, hapū and Shade House volunteers teamed up with DOC Bay of Islands staff to welcome 40 kākāriki from Hauturu (Little Barrier) to Moturua Island, and lay out 500 trees ready for planting on nearby Urupukapuka Island.

Helpers from nearby Te Rāwhiti marae put together lunch for 80 people who came to welcome the birds – including volunteers from other community conservation projects doing pest control around the Bay of Islands. Such a large logistical exercise required all sorts of jobs; from check-in staff to Health and Safety monitors, biosecurity and site preparation, plant carriers and photographers.

And that doesn’t include the volunteer effort in growing the plants and catching and caring for the kākāriki on Hauturu.

Project Island Song volunteer plant transport

The team leaving Dove’s Bay for the kākāriki release and plant transport. Photo: Fleur Corbett

DOC skippers ferried plants and volunteers around the Bay, while other staff guided two helicopters (generously provided by an island landowner) and coordinated the unloading of their precious cargo of kākāriki.


Photo: Darren Markin

The birds were welcomed to their new island home with a kaikaranga and karakia in a moving ceremony. Along with pāteke, they are one of the few mobile species returned as part of the Project Island Song species reintroduction programme, which heightens the importance of all the mainland pest control work being done by volunteers right across the Bay of Islands.


Photo: Dean Wright

It was a fantastic team effort and everyone had a great day.

You can become a Project Island Song volunteer by visiting their website, or a Kerikeri Shade House volunteer by contacting Rod Brown on 09 407 4294.