Archives For taupo

Anna ready to take photos of the NZ falcons at Wairakei Forest.

Anna with her camera ready

By Anna McKnight, Partnerships Ranger, Taupō.

A pair of rare New Zealand falcon/kārearea are currently nesting at Craters Mountain Bike Park at Wairakei Forest near Taupō.

The kārearea is a courageous bird. One time, in Aoraki/Mt Cook, a falcon defended itself against an Iroquois helicopter that got too close to its nest.

The helicopter was training with the Search and Rescue team and had to move, as it didn’t want to get the falcon caught in its rotor blades. Kārearea 1, Helicopter 0. That was one brave bird!

Having worked for the Department of Conservation (DOC) in Aoraki/Mt Cook, I knew what to expect when preparing to take photos of kārearea.

Karearea. Photo: Peter Langlands. DOC Use Only.

Karearea. Photo: Peter Langlands

As Murphy’s Law would have it, I was dressed for the office that day—with skirt, stockings and town boots—not very practical. So I raided my fire bag, and with helmet and fire boots for the terrain, I was ready to be dive bombed!

A NZ falcon soaring through the air at Wairakei Forest.

The kārearea speeds towards me

What I wasn’t ready for is the speed of the falcon. They are thought to get up to 200 kilometre per hour!

The falcon flew straight at me, but they were, in this case, just whizzing past to scare me, rather than striking. I need a better, and faster camera!

The sheer speed made the perfect falcon shot elusive, and I decided it is probably best left to the professionals!

NZ falcon pair sitting on a branch in Wairakei Forest.

Falcon pair defending their nest on Craters mountain bike track

It is exciting to be near such a rare and strong bird of prey, but I tried to be as quick as possible so I didn’t stress the parents out too much. Apologies for the amateur photos! If you are a kārearea fan and want to see some more professional photographs check out the page on the New Zealand Birds Online website.

by Anna McKnight, DOC Community Relations Ranger

The famous Trout Centre ‘fish outs’

The Tongariro National Trout Centre is world famous in the central North Island for its kid’s fish outs.

One on one time with volunteers crazy about fly fishing

Fishing for your first trout with a volunteer angler is a big part of local identity – you catch a trout at the children’s pond when you are young, and then grow up and go on to take your own children and grandchildren.

Kids fishing – an intergenerational affair

Tongariro Trout Centre Society president Rob Lester explains, “I think we are the luckiest volunteers when you see the delight on the children’s faces”.

There are seven fish outs a year that attract up to 200 children at a time and bring visitors in from out of town.

Local kids catch their first trout on kid’s fish out days

Tongariro Trout Centre Society

The Tongariro Trout Centre Society was incorporated in 2001 to develop, promote and expand the Tongariro National Trout Centre. In partnership with DOC and Genesis Energy, the Centre has become a place that not only promotes the Taupō Fishery, but is also a leading advocate for freshwater conservation.

Volunteers with Genesis Energy on sharing the river

History of the Tongariro Trout Centre

The land was originally gifted from the Downs family and in 1926 a trout hatchery was established. The site was chosen for the purity and temperature of the water from the Waihukahuka spring and stream—cool, clear and clean.

Blue Gold – interpreting the importance of freshwater

In 2003 the River Walk building was opened to help promote the Taupō Fishery.

The Taupō for Tomorrow education programme classroom was built in 2006 and named after the late kaumātua, Whakapumautanga Downs.

2011 saw the opening of the Genesis Energy Freshwater Aquarium where you can get an up-close and personal experience with many of our native species such as kōkopu and kōaro.

The visitor centre was also upgraded with interpretation that includes a 20 minute film and a series on freshwater conservation titled ‘Blue Gold’.

Whio/blue duck

Whio (blue duck) can now be seen from the grounds of the Tongariro Trout Centre due to a local collaborative effort on predator trapping. It has hosted Whio Family Day for the last three years.

More than a trout on the end of the line

It is exciting to see the Tongariro Trout Centre not only giving us the buzz of a trout on the end of our line, or even bringing us face to face with a kōkopu or whio for the first time, but leaving us with a deep understanding of the importance of clean freshwater for our future.

The children’s pond in action

Working together, in partnership with our volunteers, is fast tracking us towards our dreams and goals to preserve our freshwater for future generations.