Archives For Wairakei

DOC intern Partnerships Ranger Sian Moffitt shares her story about new chicks at the Wairakei Golf + Sanctuary near Taupo.

Continue Reading...

A Tauranga family had the “most amazing day ever” last week when they won the opportunity to release two kiwi chicks.

Continue Reading...

Meet the two takahē who are living the retired couple’s dream living on a world class golf course in Taupo.

Continue Reading...

By Anna McKnight, DOC Partnership Ranger

Twelve year old Dylan Bagley came to Wairakei Golf and Sanctuary, near Lake Taupō, to practice his golf swings after school, and ended up helping to release a baby kiwi.

Kiwi chick Georgie, with David Speirs and Renee Potae from DOC, and kiwi kids Dylan and Amy Bagley.

Kiwi chick, Georgie, with David Speirs and Renee Potae from DOC,
and kiwi kids Dylan and Amy Bagley

Ten kiwi chicks will be released within the predator proof fenced golf course over the spring and summer months.

Dylan and his family were in the right place at the right time to get a kiwi experience of a lifetime—helping the Department of Conservation kiwi team release a chick into the forest.

Dylan couldn’t wait to go to school the next day and say, “You’ll never guess what I did at golf last night?!”

Making Georgie's burrow to release her in.

Making Georgie’s burrow to release her in

The Tongariro chick was named ‘Georgie’ as she hatched on the date of Prince George’s christening.

DOC are using the private sanctuary as a local opportunity to crèche baby kiwi chicks.

“Partnering with DOC has allowed us to contribute to the conservation of one of New Zealand’s endangered species and broadens the experience of our golfers,” says Nigel Lloyd, Wairakei Golf course manager.

The use of the local sanctuary has many advantages for the Tongariro Kiwi Team, not only reducing travel time for rangers and volunteers, but also experiencing the novelty of transporting kiwi in golf carts!

Experiencing the novelty of transporting kiwi in golf carts.

DOC’s Jo de Lange and Renee Potae experience the novelty
of transporting kiwi in golf carts

David Speirs with Dylan and Amy.

DOC’s new partnership director for the Central North Island region,
David Speirs, with Dylan and Amy Bagley

BNZ Operation Nest Egg (ONE) enables DOC to take kiwi eggs from the local Tongariro Forest, one of five national sanctuaries for kiwi.

The eggs are hatched at Rainbow Springs Kiwi Encounter and reared to about 400 grams. The chicks then stay at Wairakei until they weigh about 1 kilogram, big enough to fight off stoats, giving them a higher chance of survival for their release back into the wild.

Amy, David and kiwi Georgie.

Amy, David and the gorgeous Georgie

While young Dylan has a promising future in golf with a handicap of 12, Georgie is lowering her handicap without having to play against stoats. It would also be fair to say that Wairakei Golf and Sanctuary are playing above par for conservation with this birdie!

Plus a bonus for Dylan – he scored some lost golf balls from the forest where Georgie was released!

Plus a bonus for Dylan – he scored some lost golf balls from the
forest where Georgie was released!

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.