Bream Head Reserve from Manaia

Rangers Report May 2017

Wow, what a momentous month (and past 12 months really) for our reserve, our community and the Trust. I am just so humbled by our community and its obvious love for our environment, health, prosperity and future. Driving down Ocean Beach Road with 100 precious Popokatea/Whitehead birds and seeing the large crowd waiting at the Trust’s operational headquarters was so thrilling, it sent positive shivers down my spine and I could not wait to share the experience with all those gathered. The day was one of great innocent fun, everyone just seemed to be buzzing and I hope all that attended went away with the pure satisfaction that local community people can make quite big, positive changes to their lives. So, what was once just a dream by a handful of passionate locals over a decade ago has now become a very real and wonderful reality for so many people within our community.

The Whiteheads/Popokatea have been returned to the Northland mainland, to Bream Head Scenic Reserve after being lost for around 140 years, that’s 5-6 generations who have never seen this bird! The 100 Whitehead/Popokatea were captured on Tiritiri Matangi Island during the preceding week, transported by ferry to Gulf Harbour where they were blessed by Ngati Manuhiri kaumatua Fiona MacKenzie. They were then driven in style in a Northtec van for the three hour journey to Bream Head. A large crowd had gathered at the BHCT operational facitlity at the start of the Peach Cove track on a stunning Saturday afternoon, great speeches were given ahead of the arrival of the birds and a moving karakia was gifted to ourselves and the manu by Ngatiwai kaumatua Te Warahi Hetaraka. From there special volunteers, local school children and other VIPs carried the boxes of birds up to the release site.  Groups of 2-3 boxes (each with 5 birds inside) were released at a time, closely watched by spectators and media alike – all hoping to catch a glimpse of this bird they had never seen before. And they were treated to a great spectacle as the very chatty birds flew out and landed on nearby branches waiting for their friends to catch up before disappearing up into the reserve. The smiles on everyone’s faces, the high fives and the happy chatter from all those there said it all, all that hard work had paid off.

BHCT trustees Greg Innes, Bill Mallett & Claire Pearson release the last Whiteheads

BHCT trustees Greg Innes, Bill Mallett & Claire Pearson release the last Whiteheads

Foundation North

In other fantastic news, BHCT was successful in attaining a $300,000 fund over three years from Foundation North for ongoing operational aspects of our programme. This is a huge boost to the team with many, many hours of behind the scene work put in by our awesome trustees to secure this important fund that will allow the great work to continue. This is just part of the funding we require and the Trust is very aware and already working very hard to develop more sustainable funds so we can plan with more security and confidence for future projects within our overall programme. We sincerely look forward to our ongoing relationship with Foundation North and see them as a long-term partner who we can return value to with our successes and community engagement.

Read the May 2017 Rangers Report (1.7MB pdf)  for more details on this and other stories.