Matariki 2020 - a time for reflection
Matariki is approaching and provides a great opportunity to reflect on the past year. ZEALANDIA has had many significant conservation learnings and we have chosen three to share with you.
The Flowering of Kohurangi/Kirk’s Tree Daisy
The kohurangi/Kirk’s tree daisy is a threatened plant species in New Zealand. A ground shrub with beautiful white flowers, it is rare because of its delicious and inviting taste to introduced mammal species like deer, goat and possums.
Kohurangi was introduced into ZEALANDIA as a trial in 2017, to see how these plants would establish and grow. This was a partnership with Otari Wilton’s Bush to investigate the best ways of growing seeds and cuttings. This year we can say the introduction has proven to be a success, with plants flowering within two years of being planted. This is great news for the future of this vulnerable species!
The Discovery of Freshwater Sponges
This year, we discovered more about the freshwater sponges living in ZEALANDIA’s streams. The resident species was identified as heterorotula kakahuensis, which is the only native species of freshwater sponge found in Aotearoa/New Zealand. Small specimens were located all along the stream but the biggest were near the upper lake.
During the year ZEALANDIA research intern, Mathilde Nieuwjaer, discovered that temperature influences their presence and growth: sponges are found more often in warmer water. The conservation team are now looking at how to translocate these freshwater sponges to encourage them to flourish in different locations.
The Successful Tītipounamu Translocation
In April 2019, 60 tītipounamu/rifleman were translocated from the Wainuiomata Mainland Island and released within ZEALANDIA in collaboration with Greater Wellington Regional Council. While we didn’t initially know how well these birds would take to their new home, by summer 2020 they were settled and breeding in the sanctuary. We are pleased to share that 44 fledglings were born during this period. They can now be seen in the valley, however you’ll need a keen ear and eye out as these are the one of the smallest birds in New Zealand. We will continue to monitor the titipounamu in the valley, particularly how the birds do in ZEALANDIA over winter.
As we reflect on these learnings from the past year, we look forward to sharing and applying this knowledge to ZEALANDIA’s future conservation mahi.
Photos: Kohurangi by ZEALANDIA, sponge by ZEALANDIA, tītipounamu by Melissa Boardman