Native birds resettle in Bay

By Kaysha Brownlie kaysha.brownlie@hbtoday.co.nz

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RELOCATION: Korure have been relocated to Maungaharuru, from left: Rehutai Taurima, Hoani Taurima, Tawaka Taurima, Matiu Eru, Theresa Thornton, holding the bird and Cathy Mitchell. Photo/Supplied.
RELOCATION: Korure have been relocated to Maungaharuru, from left: Rehutai Taurima, Hoani Taurima, Tawaka Taurima, Matiu Eru, Theresa Thornton, holding the bird and Cathy Mitchell. Photo/Supplied.

Nearly 50 Korure (mottled petrels) are settling into a sought after location in Hawke's Bay after arriving here last week.

The small fluffy chicks were brought to Maungaharuru, also known as the "mountain that rumbles and roars" as part of a unique conservation project.

The mountain earnt the name from the huge number of Korure which historically used to depart from and arrive home to each day.

Poutiri Ao o Tane, is an ecological and social restoration project located at Maungaharuru-Tutira catchment, 60km north of Napier with the Boundary Stream Mainland Island at its heart.

This is the third group of Korure to arrive from Whenua Hou, also known as Codfish Island, near Stewart Island with the total number of relocated birds sitting at 177.

The resettlements contribute to seabird restoration. They are culturally significant to Maori and ecologically significant with the nutrients they deposit from the sea.

The chicks were monitored for a week before their journey up from the deep south ensuring they met weight and wing length travelling requirements.

"When the time is right chicks slim down and grow feathers - for about a week before fledging they go outside and flap to build up wing strength," Department of Conservation senior biodiversity ranger Denise Fastier said.

They were blessed by Kaumatua Matiu Eru, rehydrated and released into artificial burrows until they are ready to fly.

"Their burrows are inside a predator proof fence covering 1.9ha, free from the prying eyes of ground-dwelling predators," Ms Fastier said.

This breed typically spend their lives at sea and only return to land to breed.

They take mental pictures of their nest site when they emerge from their burrow for the first time and make a 24km trip to sea, only returning after four-five years of traversing the Southern Ocean.

Ms Fastier said they would not be able to measure the project's success until those years were up.

Birds would usually nest in ranges, but habitat destruction and predators had reduced them to coastal areas, with only a few locations left in New Zealand.

The programme has already successfully reintroduced other native birds and Tania Hopmans, who represents three northern Hawke's Bay iwi on Poutiri Ao o Tane and Cape to City Governance team.

Involved with the recent release of Titi chicks, she said it was "fantastic to see mokopuna and kaumatua working alongside DOC experts to feed the chicks and put them into their burrows".

"It provides all of us with an awesome opportunity to practice kaitiakitanga and get involved with a range of experts."

Ms Hopmans said she hoped to see southern Hawke's Bay hapu get involved with DOC, Landcare Research, Hawke's Bay Regional Council and Cape to City project landowners, just as iwi were working with Poutiri Ao o Tane.

Cape to City is a conservation initiative stretching between Hastings and Cape Kidnappers, extending southwards including Waimarama and Kahuranaki.

Ms Hopmans said both projects provided opportunities for hapū to become involved and demonstrated different goals and capabilities of different groups of people.

"Hapu can bring a richness to this type of project."

For more information or if you want you get involved: www.poutiri.co.nz or www.facebook.com/poutiri

- Hawkes Bay Today

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