Greater Wellington supports banded dotterels' increasing hatching stats with new strategy

  • Published Date 11 Aug 2021
  • Author Ali Kaye

As tūturiwhatu/banded dotterels hatching stats rise on the Eastbourne to Wainuiomata coastline, Greater Wellington and the project partners are unifying conservation efforts under a new strategy to build on this success.

Since 2011, Greater Wellington, MIRO, Taranaki Whānui ki Te Upoko o Te Ika, Birds New Zealand, the Friends of Baring Head Trust and Hutt City Council have conducted pest control, placed rāhui, erected signage and fencing, and provided community education – all of which has resulted in an increase of annual hatching success from only 3% of nests to a high of 57%.

Lee Hunter, co-chair of the Rōpū Tiaki for Parangarahu Lakes Area says the Taranaki Whānui fully supports the recognition of our native tūturiwhatu.

“Kaitiakitanga, Wairuatanga and Manaakitanga are important principles that preserve and conserve our precious resources, the spiritual connection between mankind and our taiao (environment), and of course the strengthening relationships between organisations involved in the tūturiwhatu mahi being carried out to nurture and protect,” says Lee Hunter.

This project has identified the Eastbourne to Wainuiomata coastline as one of a network of sites used by locally-breeding tūturiwhatu, with banded birds migrating to Pauatahanui Inlet, Lake Wairarapa and even as far as New Caledonia each year.

“The Tūturiwhatu Management Strategy sets out the vision, objectives and activities to care and protect a large area of land from Eastbourne to Wainuiomata. One of those areas is Parangarahu,” says Lee Hunter.

“Parangarahu is of cultural importance, and within that reside our tūturiwhatu, therefore by the mere presence of these rare birds residing in Parangarahu makes the tūturiwhatu culturally important to us as well,” adds Lee Hunter.

Greater Wellington general manager of Catchment, Wayne O’Donnell says the Tūturiwhatu Management Strategy will unify current initiatives under one roof to support tūturiwhatu/banded dotterels, in Eastbourne to Wainuiomata, including those nesting in Parangarahu Lakes Area and Baring Head/Ōrua-pouanui Key Native Ecosystem sites.

“Work done already in this area has provided great insights on the challenges these birds face in the region such as cats and hedgehogs, which are the number one threat to tūturiwhatu survival, as well as habitat disturbance and spreading weeds in their breeding areas.”

Greater Wellington expects to see the ongoing success of the breeding population along this coastline now that these threats are included and prioritised for management under this new strategy.

“Already with this strategy, we have seen rising numbers in hatching and now we have a blueprint for future conservations initiatives – which is all thanks to the collaborative effort by all partners,” says Wayne O’Donnell.

Parker Jones, who coordinates the volunteer monitoring says it’s been a huge focus for the volunteers who have been involved in a lot of aspects and partners to bring it to life.

“After 16 years of voluntary trapping, and 5 years of working with the nationally vulnerable banded dotterel guided by Nikki McArthur and Greater Wellington's science, it is very rewarding to see the positive results from our volunteer efforts," says Parker Jones.

Nikki McArthur, lead author of the new strategy says this management strategy will protect one of the largest tūturiwhatu breeding populations along the greater Wellington coastline and provides a shining example of how iwi, local communities and local government work together to achieve a significant conservation gain.

“The goal of this new strategy is to bring together the many arms of work being done to protect tūturiwhatu, and ensure all of the wonderful people helping with this work are following a united approach.

“This strategy aims to achieve the shared vision of the partners to ensure that the Eastbourne to Wainuiomata coastline continues to support a healthy, self-sustaining breeding population of tūturiwhatu/banded dotterels, for our future generations to encounter and enjoy,” says Nikki McArthur.

Learn more about the tūturiwhatu/banded dotterel strategy and how you can help.

Updated October 12, 2021 at 4:27 PM

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