North Island robins return to Whangarei Heads

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Twenty North Island robins have been released in the Bream Head Scenic Reserve.
Twenty North Island robins have been released in the Bream Head Scenic Reserve.

A dream hatched in the Whangarei Heads community 14 years ago has become reality with the release of 20 North Island robins in the Bream Head/Te Whara Scenic Reserve.

But it was a dream that also required four-and-a-half years of intensive control and monitoring, thousands upon thousands of volunteer and ranger hours in the reserve, in the meeting rooms, at the computer and on the phone.

Earlier this month Bream Head Conservation Trust released 20 North Island robins (toutouwai) into Bream Head/Te Whara Scenic reserve after capturing, feeding, and relocating the birds that were gifted to the trust by the Ngati Rereahu hapu from Mangatutu in the King Country.

About 20 volunteers and supporters each helped carry a bird in their box nearly all the way to the top of Bream Rock/Te Whara for the release.

"Whangarei Heads is now home again to these beautiful birds after approximately 90 years of absence," Bream Head Conservation Trust project manager/ranger Adam Willetts said.

"These are the only toutouwai on the mainland from the Bay of Islands to Takatu Peninsula and we are so very proud and honoured to have them in our region again."

He said there would be a more formal public release of another 20 birds in May when trust members travelled to Tiritiri Matangi Island to collect the last batch of birds.

- Northern Advocate

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