Penguins safe in new homes

By Roger Moroney

For the latest residents of Tait's Beach north of Napier the news could not have been better.

They would be getting 20 brand new homes all with great sea views and in a peaceful and safe environment.

The residents are little penguins - regular visitors to the stretch of coastline just north of Tangoio and their homes were the result of a project woven together by the Seaweek conservation team and Mitre 10 Mega.

Farm managers Wendy and Clinton Redington opened up the stretch of coastline, the Seaweek volunteers picked the locations and set up the "houses" - wooden nesting boxes built and donated by the hardware company.

Seaweek regional co-ordinator for Hawke's Bay Carol Larson said the location was ideal for the homes.

"The farm has a secluded beach which makes it a perfect spot to position them," she said.

"There will be no wandering dogs in this location and therefore the penguins can rest safely in their new wooden homes."

In March the Seaweek group, made up of representatives from the National Aquarium, DoC, the regional council, Ministry of Primary Industries and Creative Napier, staged a "penguin march" which included members of Creative Napier helping youngsters decorate the new nesting boxes.

Along with glittering hearts and colourful painted flowers there were some messages - like 'breed well', 'if you love penguins you are cool' and 'have a good life'.

Last Thursday the Redingtons invited the Seaweek crew to the beach to dig the foundation holes to lodge the little homes in place.

As little penguins often nest under logs and piles of driftwood, these were gathered up and placed on top of the boxes to make them more appealing.

The project was sparked by a gradual loss of habitat which had seen many little penguins choose to live close to Napier Port and the city, and to give the penguins more nesting options away from suburban and city life.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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