Sandra is a senior crimes and justice reporter for the Bay of Plenty Times.

Canon NZ grant to Otanewainuku Kiwi Trust makes huge difference

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Otanewainuku Kiwi Trust has been gifted two high-powered binoculars to keep track of endangered kokako in the forest.

Since 2002, the trust had been working to restore the Otanewainuku forest to its former glory by removing pests and re-introducing kiwi and kokako.

Canon New Zealand managing director Kim Connor visited the forest yesterday to hand over one of the two pairs of binoculars to trust chairman Hans Pendergrast.

The $5000 grant of Canon equipment was made to the trust which was named regional winners of this year's Canon Environmental Grants Program.

Ms Conner said an independent judging panel had undertaken a robust process in selecting the regional winners, and the restoration and protection work by Otanewainuku Kiwi Trust stood out because it was "quite unique and exciting".

"The trust and its volunteers are clearly making history here and Canon New Zealand wanted to be part of that history by making a grant of some of our products which would enhance or support the fabulous work the trust is doing," she said.

Mr Pendergrast said the binoculars would make a huge difference to monitoring all native birdlife in the forest, but would primarily be used to monitor the kokako population which nests in the tree tops.

High-powered binoculars were ideal because tracking devices attached to the kokako dropped off after six months, he said.

"It's fabulous for us. Monitoring our trans-located kokako is essential, and having this type of equipment to do so is amazing," Mr Pendergast said.

Since 2012 the trust had reintroduced 31 kokako, with one being killed by a stoat.
The goal was to transfer another 20 into the forest by 2019.

Mr Pendergrast said at last full count in 2014 there were 36 kokako in Otanewainuku, but there had been a breeding season since then.

"Signs are that the population overall is doing well."

Mr Pendergrast said next winter the trust would undertake a full census of the population and the timing of this grant was perfect.

Otanewainuku Trust chairman Hans Pendergrast with Canon NZ managing director 
Kim Conner who handed over a gifted pair of high powered binoculars. Photo/Ruth Keber
Otanewainuku Trust chairman Hans Pendergrast with Canon NZ managing director Kim Conner who handed over a gifted pair of high powered binoculars. Photo/Ruth Keber

Some facts about kokako


• There were only about 1400 pairs in 2015
• Dark bluish-grey bird with long tail and short wings
• Male and female are similar in colour and size (weighing about 230 grams)
• Known for the volume of their song which carries across the forest
• They protect large territories (eight hectares) by singing and chasing away invaders
• They eat leaves, fern fronds, flowers, fruit and invertebrates

- Bay of Plenty Times

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