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Rifleman Interview with Danielle Shanahan

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Last week, it was announced that the planned translocation of 80 tītipounamu / rifleman into the sanctuary in March 2017, followed by another 80 into Otari-Wilton's Bush in 2018 had been postponed due to ZEALANDIA having just learned that population in the Wainuiomata source site (the Wainuiomata / Orongorongo Key Native Ecosystem area) are considerably lower than previously thought.

We asked Dr. Danielle Shanahan, ZEALANDIA’s Conservation Manager, for some background on the postponement and about the next steps in bringing these iconic species into the sanctuary.

Outstanding volunteer Chris Gee

Recipient of the 2016 Faye Shaef Volunteer Award

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Volunteer guide Chris Gee was awarded the Faye Schaef award at ZEALANDIA’s annual volunteer dinner and award night in December. Louise Slocombe met up with Chris to talk about the work he does at ZEALANDIA , which he describes as ‘skippering and guiding’. However, as the conversation progressed, she found out he does a huge range of other activities... 

Zealandia turns 21

This story originally appeared in Forest & Bird. Written by Jim Lynch.

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As Wellington’s Zealandia celebrates its 21st birthday, sanctuary founder Jim Lynch reflects on what has been achieved and lessons learned along the way.

Poisonous Plants of the Sanctuary

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Do you know your tutu from your supplejack?

You’d be wise not to eat any asparagus-like shoots in the bush if you’re not sure!

In 2014 tramper Matthew Pike found this out the hard way after adding what he thought was a supplejack sapling to his boil-up, only to find – when he woke up in hospital – that he’d seasoned his dinner with the notorious tutu: a poisonous plant full of the neurotoxin tutin. Matthew’s reaction was so severe that his convulsions dislocated his shoulder; he was lucky to survive.

Wherefore art thou Spotted Skinks?

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On Thursday 28th January, 2016, 45 rare Spotted skinks were released onto the slope above Tui Terrace. This was the first time in 5 years that a new species was introduced into Zealandia. The Spotted skinks were given a formal welcome both in Māori and English. There was a ceremony attended by representatives of the local iwi, dignitories, ZEALANDIA staff and volunteers, also the public. Speeches about conservation and the importance of protecting this rare species were given by the Mayor, Celia Wade-Brown and Wellington City Councillor, Andy Foster. ZEALANDIA Conservation Manager, Raewyn Empson, explained this was the sanctuary’s 18th species translocation, but it was the first time that lizards had been released here.

Dawn & Night Tours

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One early morning the Member’s Walk Group met at dawn at the Visitors’ Centre to hear The Dawn Chorus’ along the tracks before a welcome, warm breakfast at Rata Cafe.

The birds were just tuning up and the ducks were just quacking quietly. As the sun touched the hilltops, the bush colours sprang into focus and the birds sprang into action. Suddenly birds were leaving their roosts and flying around.

A Moonlight Sonata with Bronwen & Alfie Kākā

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Alfie: “What a great night to be out Bronwen. There’s something special about a night tour around the valley don’t you think? There’s so much more to see. But I don’t see many other humans around. What are you doing here – not monitoring kākā nests surely?”

Bronwen: Isn’t it beautiful Alfie, and you’re right. The valley is just amazing at night. Right now I’m tracking ducks, helping Katie Sheridan with her research on their habitat behaviour. You remember, Katie, you interviewed her last year. Forest ducks, brown teal, or to put it simply, pāteke.

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