For the third year running Ngā Manu Nature Reserve in Waikanae is hosting a winter lecture series aimed at educating, entertaining and informing Kāpiti locals on conservation topics.

Receiving funding from the Royal Society of New Zealand this year, the set of six lectures is proving noteworthy with the funding enabling Ngā Manu to bring guest speakers from further afield.

"Generous funding from the Royal Society of New Zealand has allowed us to bring excellent speakers from afar, including photographer, author and publisher Craig Potton from Nelson and Katarina TawiriI from the harakeke strain depository at Lincoln," Ngā Manu trustee and lecture programme organiser Jean Fleming said.

The first lecture by landscape photographer and ardent conservationist Craig Potton was fully booked earlier this month and Craig informed and entertained attendees during his talk.

Ngā Manu Trust chairwoman Pat Stuart, left, with guest speaker Craig Potton and his daughter Bella.
Ngā Manu Trust chairwoman Pat Stuart, left, with guest speaker Craig Potton and his daughter Bella.

"Craig brought his family from Nelson and the evening was memorable not only for his emotionally charged performance, but also for his iconic slides, shown on an old Kodachrome projector," Jean said.

The next lecture will be on this Wednesday, July 22, with Chris Woolley from Victoria University of Wellington speaking on conservation of lizards in New Zealand cities.

Chris works on reptile conservation and the relationship between people and wildlife living in cities, in particular Wellington.

Following Chris on August 5 is Te Papa natural history curator Colin Miskelly, an ornithologist with broad interests, including conservation ecology, biogeography, the history of science and is a bird identification expert.

Colin's lecture is titled Explorers, shipwrecks, coastwatchers and lost gold - ornithology of the subantarctic Auckland Islands.

Sponsored by the Royal Society New Zealand, Katarina Tawiri from Lincoln, Canterbury, will talk about harakeke on August 22.

Katarina is an expert weaver and kaitiaki of the National Flax Collection in Landcare Manaaki Whenua, Lincoln, Canterbury.

The collection has over 50 different cultivars of harakeke with Katarina explaining the importance of conserving this collection in her talk.


She will meet with local weavers and interested participants to assess what harakeke strains could be grown successfully at Ngā Manu.

On September 2 librarian and insect lover William Brocklesby and Jim O'Malley of Sustainable Wairarapa will speak about their recent uncovering of new colonies of the katipo spider in the Wairarapa and at Baring Head and encourage people to look for colonies in Kāpiti.

The winter series will be concluded on Saturday, September 19 by DoC ranger Dave Bryden who specialises in the conservation of endangered perching birds and will talk about his recent work managing translocations, post-release surveys and monitoring breeding success of kōkako.

The talks are held at Ngā Manu's Robin's Nest Education Centre. Hot drinks and biscuits served at 3.30pm with the talks starting at 4pm.

Registration is advised by emailing or calling 04 293 4131, paper koha on entry.