The face of Whangārei's bird recovery centre is amazed more than $7000 has been donated to help the centre after its main sponsor pulled out.

Robert Webb, from the Whangārei Native Bird Recovery Centre, found out earlier this month Northpower - which had been the centre's major sponsor for the past 12 years - had withdrawn its $14,000 annual funding.

Webb said it left a huge gap to try and fill but he may not have to worry so much as more than $7000 has been donated through Givealittle.

"To get people banding together like they are now is absolutely amazing.


"It tells me one thing, that what we do at the centre people think is worthwhile," Webb said.

The page was set up by Northland internet and phone provider Uber Group Ltd which wanted to help after seeing the story about the funding loss in the Northern Advocate, and kick started donations on the page by contributing $1000.

"[We] couldn't believe it. The bird recovery centre is iconic in Northland, and we see Robert and his team mentioned a lot on community Facebook pages," said Pauline Rose, Uber Group Ltd chief operations officer.

"The amount of funding they'd lost was beyond our sponsorship budget, but we were happy to give something. We started thinking about what was possible if a relatively small number of Northland people and businesses each gave only a few dollars, which had to be achievable."

The Maunu-based recovery centre provides help, treatment and rehabilitation for injured and ill birds so they can be returned to the wild, and is run voluntarily by Webb and wife Robyn.

He said each year the centre cares for about 1300 birds and with food costs around $250 each week and medication around $300, it can be expensive.

"I don't think a lot of people realise how the centre is run. They probably think we get thousands from DOC but it just runs voluntarily totally."

Webb said finding out Northpower was withdrawing its funding came as a shock.


While Northpower said it informed the bird recovery centre on more than one occasion that a sponsorship review was under way and that - pending the fuller review - the sponsorship would finish at the end of March, Webb said he was expecting a formal letter to confirm it.

However, Webb understood Northpower's reasons for withdrawing funding.

"Northpower were very good to us. We had a fabulous run with them," he said.

Rose said the goal of the Givealittle was to raise $28,000 to cover two years of funding for The Native Bird Recovery Centre, so she was "stoked" to already be a quarter of the way there.

Visit to donate.