Crowned visitors arrive
A noisy group of colourful characters have taken up residence at the Tui Nature Reserve in the Marlborough Sounds, as its kakariki breeding programme starts to bring rewards for the environment.
Yellow crowned kakariki, an endangered native parakeet, arrived from Long Island last week for a new life in new aviaries built on the outer Pelorus Sound wildlife sanctuary.
They replace the reserve's captive population of red crowned kakariki, which successfully bred and were re-homed.
Reserve owners Brian and Ellen Plaisier say once the wild yellow kakariki breed they will be released into other wildlife sanctuaries at the top of the South Island, such as the Janszoon Project in Abel Tasman National Park.
Bringing the birds to the reserve involved a lot of people and effort, Brian Plaisier says.
"With the help of Peter Gaze, DOC and Tui Trust Board member Ralph Powlesland, the birds were transported by boats and cars to the outer Pelorus. Rosemary vander Lee, who is a kakariki advisor, came out for two days to guide the whole ordeal," he says.
The kakariki are not the only new creatures on the reserve, with the arrival of the first young giant weta a few months ago, which Brian Plaisier says will be released into the wild later this year.
The reserve also hosted members of the Tennyson Inlet community in January and last week two groups of students from Scots College in Wellington visited.
It's the second year the college has visited, Brian Plaisier says. Everyone travelled on the Pelorus Mail Boat with owner Jim Baillie, who Brian Plaisier says made the journey an "unforgettable experience".
"Many students had visited before and were keen to visit a second time.
"It was an inspiring week with an exchange of information and it was good to see the interest from so many young people in our environment," Brian Plaisier says.
Visitors were particularly interested in predator management on the reserve, and the second college group were even able to see the new kakariki.
"It was good to see the birds settling in without too much stress with all the attention," he says.
Students were also able to ask ornithologist Rob Schuckard about a nearby colony of rare king shags.
"Rob is a member of the Tui Wildlife Trust Board's advisory group and has studied this species for decades.
"He spoke about the concerns of a changing environment in the Pelorus and the need to manage this for the survival of the King Shag and other species," Brian Plaisier says.
The trust is continuing work behind the scenes to reverse the decline of wildlife and habitat and has made some major steps, as interest in the reserve continues to grow.
"The growing support and interest from many is very stimulating for the wildlife trust to continue their efforts to improve and preserve key areas for the next generations to come."
If you like to be a supporter of the Tui Nature Reserve and to follow the work of the trust visit tuinaturereserve.co.nz.