Rotorua to host kokako hui

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North Island kokako. Photo/FILE
North Island kokako. Photo/FILE

The protection of kokako will be the focus of a hui hosted by the Department of Conservation next week.

Conservationists from around the Bay of Plenty will gather in Rotorua on May 18 and will bring together community groups, forestry companies and government organisations who are actively protecting kokako populations.

North Island kokako currently have a threat ranking of 'nationally vulnerable' and populations are confined to forest remnants in the central and northern North Island including areas of Kaharoa, Pongakawa and Otanewainuku.

Representatives from Rotoehu Ecological Trust, Kaharoa Kokako Trust, and Otanewainuku Kiwi Trust will attend the hui to provide updates on their recent work and discuss potential synergies with local forestry companies.

"The greatest threat to the survival of kokako are introduced predators such as possums, rats and stoats," said Rotorua-based senior ranger Erin Patterson.

"A pest control operation took place in the Mokaihaha Ecological Area during 2015 to benefit the kokako population and wider ecosystem. Our post-operation monitoring tracked 1.1% possums and no rats, which should see kokako numbers increase in 2016."

"After the operation, we took local iwi members into the bush to listen to kōkako and see for themselves what the operation was protecting."

Miss Patterson said the community conservation groups represented at the hui are dedicated to protecting and restoring New Zealand's native species and DOC is committed to supporting the groups to protect and restore native species.

"The Department has limited resources and we simply can't achieve our goals without contributions from the community," she said.

Volunteers considering conservation volunteer work are encouraged to join a community conservation group. Details are available from www.doc.govt.nz.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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