TIAKI TE MAURI O PARININIHI TRUST
Ka haere tonu te mahi o Tiaki Te Mauri o Parininihi Trust. Kei a Conrad mā, kia kaha,
kia maia, kia manawanui.
Tiaki Te Mauri O Parininihi Trust wants to hear the song of native birds, particularly the Taranaki kokako, again in the bushland behind the White Cliffs.For years, because of predators likes stoats and rats, the bird’s numbers dwindled.In 1999 several were taken to Pukaha, Mt Bruce Wildlife Centre, to keep the Taranaki genes alive. The progeny was later taken to Tiritiri Matangi Island.
“We’re at a stage now where they need a site ready in Taranaki to bring back these Taranaki birds,” says Parininihi project manager Conrad O’Carroll.
Kokako, a blue-grey bird with vivid blue bulbs under its beak, nest on the ground. Although they can fly they spend much of their time on the ground. They have the most beautiful call.There is competition from other areas but Parininihi is one of the sites that has a suitable habitat.
“It’s a dream for this trust,” says department of Conservation iwi programme manager Ngamata Skipper.”It was implied that when they were ready to be returned they would be returned back to their place of origin. So this trust is crossing its fingers,” he says.Mr O’Carroll says that to do so, predators needed to be almost non-existent.
Although a lot of work is already done there is still a long way to go. Since 2009 volunteers have installed almost 300 traps, which are checked each month.Overall the numbers of predators caught are dropping. In 2010 almost 490 predators were caught and in 2011, despite there being more traps, just over 312 were caught. The majority of those caught were rats.
The Tiaki Te Mauri O (to protect) Parininihi (White Cliffs) Trust was set up to consolidate the volunteer network and supporters. Parininihi project itself is much bigger than bringing the kokako back.The 2000 hectare block is full of rare and interesting wildlife and plants including the kiwi, scarab beetle, king fern, diving petrels and the banded kokopu.”We want it to be a safe haven for the wildlife and the birds,” says trustee Dennis White.Parininihi belongs to the Ngati Tama Iwi but is administered by the Department of Conservation. “It has good public access,” Mr O’Carroll says. Some of it is inaccessible though because of the rugged country.