Archives For tuatara

It probably doesn’t surprise you to hear that people love visiting our native animals online at www.doc.govt.nz. What may surprise you are the native animals people like visiting the most.

#10 Kaka

This amusing, social and boisterous parrot seems to be as much fun to hang out with online as in the real world.

Kaka

#9 Frogs

New Zealand’s four species of native frog may be cold-blooded, but they’re warmly regarded, and well visited, on the DOC website.

Hamilton's frog

#8 Tui

It’s not too much of a stretch to see why this pretty and popular song bird made the list. 

Tui feeding

#7 Kakapo

This eccentric New Zealand parrot has a huge following, partly due to their high profile ambassador Sirocco, who regularly makes news headlines around the world.

Kakapo chicks

#6 Tuatara

The only survivor of an ancient group of reptiles that roamed the earth at the same time as dinosaurs, tuatara are internationally famous and endlessly fascinating.

Tuatara

#5 Bats

Maori refer to bats as pekapeka and associate them with the mythical, night-flying bird, hokioi, which foretells death or disaster. Despite this rather gloomy association we still love visiting them.

Short-tailed bat cluster

#4 Kiwi

The kiwi is New Zealand’s national icon and unofficial national emblem. The only surprise about kiwi would’ve been if it didn’t make our top 10.

Kiwi

#3 Weta

Beating many a fair and feathered creature, New Zealand’s most recognisable creepy-crawly takes third place.

Giant weta

#2 Eel

These slimy and snake-like creatures obviously have more love out there than we give them credit for.   

Longfin eel

#1 Gecko

One look at the photos on the gecko pages and you’ll understand why these gorgeous creatures made it to the number one spot.

Marlborough green gecko

So, that’s the top 10 native animals of 2011, based on the number of visits each of them received on the DOC website during the year. Do you think visitor numbers have given us an accurate picture of popularity? Did your favourite make the list? Let’s take a quick poll to find out…

Busking for kea

 —  02/11/2011

Singing on the sidewalk and sizzling sausages are just some of the fundraising efforts made by Tairua School students to help save our native species.

Denise, Tim and Jack busking outside Tairua Four Square

After learning about New Zealand’s biodiversity, Room 5 students wanted to make a difference; and that they did. All together they raised a grand total of $495!

“We did good busking in the streets of Tairua, and we made $59.00 in just under an hour,” says Tim, who was in the Kea group.

Kea, tuatara, kokako, kakapo and the yellow eyed penguin were the chosen species, all receiving a boost to their survival chances thanks to these budding young conservationists.

Mohini and Maddie with the kakapo donation box

“The tuatara’s a unique animal to New Zealand. It’s one of the dinosaurs that’s been here for a million years, and if we don’t save them… who will?” says Henry, whose group raised $270 for DOC’s tuatara recovery project.

The tuatara group raffled off a board of scratchies

Children approached local businesses to ask for donations, organised a raffle with $50 worth of scratchies up for grabs, placed donation boxes in shops, sold good old fashioned sausages, and sang along to Tim’s guitar playing outside the local Four Square. They also put up posters around the community, promoted their cause on the radio, and advertised in the school newsletter.

The students’ teacher, Samantha Telfar, says the students initiated their action plans to help save an endangered species of their choice. “I’m really pleased with the students’ progress and enthusiasm they are showing for their native species projects,” she says.

The yellow eyed penguin group put posters in shops around town

Jaxon, who studied kakapo, learnt that “some are friendly, some are cruisy, and some are big eaters.”

Tairua locals are also big eaters, spending $73.80 on barbequed sausages, with funds helping out kokako.

Connor and the money raised for the kokako

“The plan is to have a kokako in every back yard, and so many we can harvest them,” says Glenn Kilpatrick, helping out behind the barbie.

The students presented their achievements to the class, including information on what they’d learnt, and what they’d do a second time around. Each group was happy with the fantastic results they’d achieved for their chosen species, and wished to thank everyone who’d donated towards their cause.

Kiwis are kea…

 —  23/09/2011

Well, it seems a lot of them are anyway. A week after DOC put this very scientific native species determination chart up, nearly 3,000 people have completed it and the comments show most people are kea!

Have you found out what New Zealand native species you are? If so, tell us here!

Your thoughts so far…

Classic kea behaviour

“Kea all the way… WHOOP!” says Ian Martin about his result. Eighteen others agreed with him.

Being a kakapo, it seems right that (of the choices given) Sirocco’s closest match was the kea too. Although, his friend Oliver Christensen commented that he’d always fancied him as a rare ****! Touché Oliver.

The morepork/ruru was a popular outcome as well, and being quite spiritual, the night owls’ comments showed that they definitely felt a significant connection with their results.

Cute

Leanne Denz says, “Oooh! Apparently I am a Morepork – have always felt a fondness for those birds and it always feels like home when I hear them!”

And Lisa Miller says, “I’m a morepork… Got it twice (I started in wrong place first time!) so I guess it must be true… Always have been a bit of a night owl…”

Pamela Glading was happy with her result, “I’m a Ruru too and very flattered and happy about that! I think they are wise and wonderful, and I love to hear them call out to their friends.”

Slow and steady wins the race

While Pichi Pie even learnt something from the experience! “I’m a morepork =D! I didn’t know this animal before. It’s cute =D.”

There were a couple of tuatara, and two southern right whales, although Meri C Fox-Szauter wasn’t too happy with her result, “Well, oh boo of boos, I’m a southern right whale.”

And @greengecko29 says “I am a Southern right whale… not sure what I think about that. Beyond a fear of sharp harpoony things.” Poor southerns!

Just keeping on keeping on

But where are the mighty kauri trees? Not a single person has commented on their likeness to the proud and reliable characters. These people have a good head on their shoulders, and stay true to their roots!

It could be that they are too busy looking after all the people in their homes, or using their strength and height… lifting heavy things to high places? Or perhaps they’re just extra rare.

The perfect place to take shelter and move on in

Anyway, DOC wants to record people’s results to get some official quantitative scientific data to go with the qualitative research your comments have provided us with! If you used the chart last week, enter your result below. Otherwise, find out what New Zealand native species you are and then come back to tell us. Thanks!