Floods, river rescues, evacuations by helicopter and honey extraction are all part of the working life of Blue Duck Station owner and manager Dan Steele.

He's the guest speaker as Sustainable Whanganui Trust celebrates its 10th anniversary on October 14. The talk is open to the public and starts at 2pm in the Harakeke/Education Room at the Whanganui Resource Recovery Centre in Maria Pl, next door to the Fire Station.

Blue Duck Station had two major events in close succession this year. In February 14 young whio (rare and endangered blue ducks) were released there.


In March a night of thunder and lightning dropped 230mm of rain on the area, washing out road access and bridges and trapping guests in the station's accommodation. They had to be evacuated by helicopter.

The rain swelled and discoloured the waterways needed to support the whio, and Steele is now contemplating spending about $100,000 on fencing and wetlands to provide them with more habitat.

He'll talk about how he balances all the facets of the station - tourism, lots of accommodation, a cafe, farming the 1460ha, trapping predators and protecting populations of kiwi, bats, weta and fish - as well as blue ducks.

The station has won three Ballance Farm Environment Awards and an award for services to conservation from the Conservation Department. It is in the area covered by the Kia Wharite initiative and intensively managed for conservation by landowners, the Conservation Department and Horizons Regional Council.