Rotokare sanctuary manager Simon Collins is asking for community support for the Rotokare Scenic Reserve Trust.

The Rotokare Scenic Reserve is home to a wide variety of native flora and fauna, including many vulnerable and threatened species, and sanctuary manager Simon Collins says it's important to let the community know how they can help the Rotokare Scenic Reserve Trust at this time.

"Lots of charities like ours will definitely suffer financially in the long run rather than immediately. The biggest financial impacts will come later as a result of economic fall-out, with fewer businesses for example being able to provide sponsorship and fewer donations.

Wild animals are free to roam around the empty streets of the world. Video / Twitter / Andrew Stuart

He says the staff at Rotokare have been working proactively during the Covid-19 pandemic.


"Before isolation was announced, four of our six staff members were working from home and even before that we were undertaking the appropriate health and hygiene protocols, included physical distancing in the workplace."

The staff working from home are completing administrative work.

"At the present point in time, many parts of our work cannot be completed."

He says when it was announced the country was going into lockdown, the reserve closed to the public, to ensure the safety of the remaining staff and to reduce the risk of pests arriving inside the reserve.

"We wanted to ensure there were no additional risks to the work we do, and we must all support the government lead directive of self-isolating.

"At the current point in time we don't have the capacity to deal with visitor related activities, and need to reduce the risk of pests getting in the sanctuary. Under normal situations we would have that capacity."

Simon says two staff are currently operating independently of each other, attending to crucial threatened species welfare management.

He says a well-coordinated plan was made on how to complete the species welfare work safely


"The work includes changing the transmitter harnesses on young kiwi. At this time of year, kiwi grow quickly meaning their transmitters may become too tight resulting in injury."

Simon says one of the significant concerns if movement restrictions remain in place for a longer period is avoiding the potential local extinction of threatened species, such as the hihi (stitchbird), tieke (saddleback), and pāteke (brown teal).

"If we are not able to undertake our field work such as pest control there is serious threat to the survival of some vulnerable species."

He says community support is crucial at this time, and there is a number of ways people can help.

"Become a friend of a lake, visit our website to learn more, and donate now so we can ensure we have the funds for what will be a very difficult financial year ahead. We always need the support of the community to keep things going, this would be a really valuable time to help."

Simon says once the lockdown is lifted, there will be a big call for the community to volunteer and help the trust catch-up with work tasks put on hold.

He says he hopes everyone is keeping safe and is taking the lockdown seriously.

"We have found ourselves in a tough situation. To ensure the lockdown can be lifted and Rotokare can open again after the four-week period, we need to listen to the Government."

He says he wants to thank those who have reached out to and given messages of support.

"Your support means everything to us."

■ For more information on becoming a friend of the lake and how to support the Rotokare Scenic Reserve, visit The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website