The Waipū Wildlife Refuge is celebrating 50 years of protecting threatened birds with a memorial seat being unveiled in the town tomorrow.
The Waipū Wildlife Refuge was proclaimed on February 25, 1969, 11 years after Wildlife Refuge protection was given to the lower reaches of Ruakākā River in 1958. Mangawhai Spit was given Wildlife Refuge status in 1982.
The Ruakākā, Waipū and Mangawhai wildlife refuges were established to preserve habitat for shorebirds that had suffered from urban encroachment and destructive recreational activities. They are located on river mouths straddled by spits and extensive dune systems that provide nesting sites and significant estuaries that provide feeding grounds.
The refuges are in close proximity to each other and are interdependent in maintaining the wellbeing of the birds and provide recruitment to other sites when numbers are down, and to provide food when food is scarce at the resident roost.
AdvertisementAdvertise with NZME.
Extensions were made to the Waipū Wildlife Refuge in 1999 under the Reserves Act 1977.
Most attention has been given to the protection of the fairy tern which is very close to extinction. Great efforts have been made by DOC to protect fairy tern habitat. DOC staff and volunteers have monitored fairy tern nesting sites seven days a week during the breeding season until the chicks have fledged.
Over the decades DOC staff, dozens of volunteers, the Fairy Tern Trust, members of Bream Bay Coastal Care Trust and members of Forest & Bird have all been involved in trapping programmes, weed control and interacting with beach users.
Tomorrow at 11am a memorial seat will be unveiled by Forest & Bird Northern Branch to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Waipū Wildlife Refuge, and in memory of local benefactor Trevor Sowry. This will be at The Area of Reflection between Waipū Cemetery and the river. All guests and interested people are welcome.