NEWS


 

Zealandia launches fundraising campaign to support conservation work

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ZEALANDIA has today launched a Givealittle campaign to support its crucial conservation work during the COVID-19 response. 

“For almost 25 years, we’ve been working to bring the birds back to Wellington, and we need your help to keep it that way,” says ZEALANDIA’S Chief Executive Paul Atkins. “We rely on supporters and visitors to fund our critical conservation work, and this work does not stop even when we are closed to the public.” 

ZEALANDIA has been hit hard by the COVID-19 lockdown, as the majority of its income comesfrom visitors, including many thousands of international tourists visiting Wellington each summer and autumn. 

"As good as it gets"

An article by ZEALANDIA Storyteller, Libby Clark

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My blinkers have been removed.  

Until recently, my love for and commitment to Zealandia has largely been focused inside the fence. Sure, I knew about the halo effect: how kākā are now all over Wellington, how tīeke are nesting in Polhill Gully, how kererū and kākāriki frequent Karori, how tūī are a common sight and sound in our gardens. 

And I had heard of Sanctuary to Sea, with a vague understanding that it was about the Kaiwharawhara Stream. 

Now that my blinkers are off, a whole new perspective has opened up for me. With the Sanctuary to Sea project, Zealandia’s ‘Living with Nature’ kaupapa has embraced an aspirational and transformative focus beyond the fence. 

 

 

Tuna/eel release to keep population thriving

Article by Elizabeth Hibbs

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Last week the tuna/eels living in the wetlands and streams at ZEALANDIA – Te Māra a Tāne were captured and released downstream beyond the sanctuary. As part of the Roto Kawau/lower reservoir restoration project, rangers worked alongside mana whenua, Taranaki Whānui, to carry out the translocation. Read on to find out what’s the issue with eels and why we need to do this. 

Encouraging dragonflies with freshwater ponds

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Dragonflies are beautiful and live amazing lives but they are in trouble worldwide. 

ZEALANDIA has several species of dragonflies and damselflies and we are playing our part to encourage them. We are currently hosting Ruary MacKenzie-Dodds and Kari de Koenigswarter, UK dragonfly ambassadors, to survey the dragonfly populations found in the sanctuary, and educate those at ZEALANDIA about dragonflies and their freshwater habitat. Ruary and Kari will also be giving a public talk on Tuesday, 18 February.

 

Hidden Depths of ZEALANDIA’s Lakes

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Every summer, some rivers and lakes around New Zealand turn soupy green, as algae (cyanobacteria) increases in abundance, blooming in the sun-warmed water. In normal numbers, the algae is an essential part of our freshwater ecosystems. When overabundant, some species that bloom also produce toxins which pose a health risk to humans and animals that come into contact with the water.  

Tītipounamu thriving in the sanctuary

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I hear the calls, a high-pitched buzzing ‘zipt, zipt, zipt’. Scanning high in the canopy, I spot a couple darting to and fro with their quick movements. These are the elusive tītipounamu/ rifleman, which I’m excited to spot at last since their introduction in March this year, with the help of ranger Kari Beaven. 

We head up a steep slope on the western scarp of the lower lake, and crouch low to observe a nest. Kari says this is the pair’s second nest for the season – and sure enough, I spot the female coming to feed her chicks several times. A quick food drop, then she’s away out again. 

Spring in the Air

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Spring is truly underway, and many of the birds in ZEALANDIA are exhibiting courtship, breeding and nesting behaviour. Here are some things to look out for if you are visiting the valley. 

The takahē are nesting again this year! In the last week of October rangers found Nio on a nest in the wetland and have set out a camera to keep an eye on whether any pīpī / chicks hatch. With an incubation period of 30 days, and a further nestling period of two weeks, it may be some time before we see any evidence of this, but we’re keeping our fingers crossed! 

Takahē make nests among vegetation, with overhead cover to hide it from avian predators. Males and females take turns incubating eggs, with the female typically taking the day shift and swapping with the male around dusk. 

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