Archives For Gisborne

By Trudi Ngawhare, Partnerships Ranger, Gisborne

Tiki the conservation dog.

Tiki the conservation dog

Recently, we lost a “totara” for conservation.

Tiki the conservation dog passed away at the prime age of 11 (human) years.

Tiki was based at Motu, in the Gisborne region, with Ranger Joe Waikari and whānau.

He was a small Border Terrier cross who specialised in detecting mustelids (weasels, stoats and ferrets).

Ranger Joe Waikari describes Tiki as an “energizer battery, he never went flat”.

More travelled than most humans, Tiki’s work would take him (and Joe) all over the country: island work; in the back country… anywhere where extensive pest control programmes were in place, to ensure mustelid populations were gone from the area.

Tiki the conservation dog on a DOC boat.

Tiki heading to Mokoia Island, Rotorua

Tiki, was part of the Conservation Dog Programme. These detection dogs are trained to locate specific target species—either protected or predator. This helps the handler to capture and monitor protected species, or eradicate the pest species through trapping, poisoning or shooting.

Joe says the highlight in working with Tiki has been “doing our part in protecting our endangered species”.

Tiki was also a public relations specialist, winning over the crowds with his unassuming charm. He attended A&P shows and school talks, and he was a great advocate for conservation efforts with many children declaring that they wanted to go home to teach their dogs to be like Tiki.

Joe and Tiki doing training.

Joe and Tiki entertaining a crowd

Also a valued whānau member, Tiki was the champion in the small dogs category at the Matawai School Pet Day a couple of years running.

Tiki is a tribute to all conservation dogs that quietly go about their work (for cuddles and food), making huge gains for conservation.

He whakamaumahara ki a ‘Tiki’, he kuri o te papa atawhai. Moe mai e hoa, moe mai. A tribute to Tiki, the conservation dog. Rest easy friend, rest easy.

Watch this video tribute to Tiki but be careful of ‘dust getting in your eyes’:

Come behind the scenes and into the jobs, the challenges, the highlights, and the personalities of the people who work at the Department of Conservation (DOC).

Today we profile Roland Pomana, Business Analyst for DOC based in Gisborne.

Roland standing beside the Tame Horomona-Rehe memorial statue on the Chatham Islands.

Roland with Tame Horomona-Rehe memorial statue on the Chatham Islands

At work

Some things I do in my job include…telling the Nga Whenua Rahui story. Simply sharing the story of an organisation that had the humblest of beginnings, to reach out and hopefully inspire other communities and indigenous cultures to try to achieve the same.

This helps achieve DOC’s vision by…strengthening and supporting communities to take ownership of conservation issues.

The best bit about my job is…the people I work with, followed closely by some of the people I get to meet and the places I get to see.

The awesome-est DOC moment I’ve had so far is…watching the Tauira Kaitiaki Taiao Cadets strut their stuff at the Asia Pacific ESRI User Conference 2012.

The DOC (or previous DOC) employee that inspires or enthuses me most is… Mike Mohi. If you want to know why then simply meet the man – it will be clearly obvious after five minutes.

A massive crayfish sitting on a roasting dish.

Yep that is a full size roasting dish that it’s sitting in

On a personal note…

Most people don’t know that I… also have a second job; it’s “Assistant Manager” to five children.…Oh yeah, and I have a massive, massive…(did I say massive) love of seafood.

The song that always cheers me up is… oh my ***, there’s so many, but first would have to be I Need Your Love – Golden Harvest…the guitar mastery of the Kaukau boys, it’s just a timeless piece of NZ music history.

Second is Bennie and the Jets – Elton John, something about the lyric “She’s got electric boots, a mohair suit” just makes me laugh and then finally Beck Reimagines David Bowie’s “Sound and Vision”, it’s just such an awesome arrangement of a classic.

Go on, take some time and click on the links… hopefully they cheer you up as well.

If I could trade places with any other person for a week—famous or not famous, living or dead, real or fictional—it would be… Han Solo, and just spend the whole week trying to do the Kessel Run in less than “10” parsecs.

In my spare time I… usually…hang on, what spare time!

My secret indulgence is… spending time with my four year old son, Cohen. How often do you get to be a hunter, a pirate, a ninja, a zombie and a hero…all before lunchtime.

Roland's son Cohen sitting with his dog Shade.

Roland’s son Cohen with his dog Shade

Deep and meaningful…

My favourite quote is… “To know a thing well, know its limits. Only when pushed beyond its tolerances will true nature be seen” – The Amtal Rule

The best piece of advice I’ve ever been given is… firstly, from my father “Work hard, be good to your mum,” and then more recently from Jack Dangermond “It’s clear you are trying to make a difference, why don’t you strive to make it a big one?”

In work and life I am motivated by… my family, especially our children and their childish unbridled enthusiasm for just about everything…except cauliflower and broccoli.

My conservation advice to New Zealanders is… don’t think conservation is easy, don’t think you can do it on your own and don’t think it will happen quickly.

Roland's daughters sitting on a truck during an early morning pig hunt.

Roland’s daughters on an early morning pig hunt

Question of the week…

You have been granted a magical wish to bring back an extinct species, what would it be and why?’ (hmmm, and where would you put it!) Nothing. We need to accept the past, learn from it and move forward. Even magic can’t undo or put right the wrongs we have done.

17-23 June is Volunteer Awareness Week, so it’s a great time to acknowledge the invaluable contribution volunteers make to conservation in New Zealand.

Today we profile an amazing young volunteer, Antonio Barbarich-Waikari (Antz), who has been helping out with conservation since he was “knee high to a grass hopper”…

Volunteer Antonio Barbarich-Waikari (Antz)

Youth Week was launched in Gisborne on 19 May with the 2012 Youth Awards for Volunteering.

Tributes were paid to 24 young leaders who give their time and energy freely. Gisborne Volunteer Centre manager Jenny Greaves said the teenagers, through volunteering, displayed values that contributed to the well-being of the community.

Antz (far left) with Youth Volunteer Award 2012 recipients

Young-at-heart television personality Te Hamua Nikora presented the awards with Mayor Meng Foon to deserving recipients at the “well to do” Quality Hotel Emerald.

Acknowledged within this prestigious group was DOC and Whinray Ecological Charitable Trust (WECT) volunteer Antonio Barbarich-Waikari (Antz).

Antz has been helping out with conservation since he was “knee high to a grass hopper!” says nominator and Community Relations Ranger Trudi Ngawhare.

A handful of weka

Antz has assisted many times with kiwi and weka listening and kiwi monitoring which occur usually during late hours. He has traversed steep, rocky and damp terrain to check stoat trap lines, transmit and process weka, place out Sentinel possum traps, monitor residual trap catch possum lines, and service cat and stoat traps.

Kiwi monitoring

He has helped with feeding kiwi chicks and has attended tree plantings with the Whinray Ecological Charitable Trust (WECT) in the Motu Kiwi Enclosure. He has spent time with DOC scrub barring at Te Tapuwae o Rongokako Marine Reserve, and has helped with track maintenance at Gray’s Bush Scenic Reserve, as well as giving up a week during the Christmas holidays to help with track maintenance on Moutohora (Whale Island) in Whakatane. 

Trapping ferrets

Even though Antz is only 16, acknowledgement for this long time volunteer is long overdue.

Antz with Mayor Meng Foon

Nga mihi kia a koe Antz!

Learn more

Volunteer, join or start a project

17-23 June is Volunteer Awareness Week