"Whāia te Uru tapu Nui o Tāne" - Follow in the footsteps of Tāne - and that’s exactly what conservation expert Sam Gibson is doing in the East Coast forest as he works to save one of Aotearoa's rarest birds, the Whio, found only in New Zealand and on the $10 note.
“When I was growing up there were plenty of Whio, we would see them daily and it was great.”
However, upon his return home, Gibson soon realized things had definitely changed for the worse.
“There were no Whio left in our rivers. There were only about four pairs left.
“So we all put a bit of cash together and we were lucky enough to get donated 250 stoat traps.”
As a result of these preservation efforts, Gibson and friends were able to create a 45kmsStoat line, and the proof is now in the pudding.
“Now, we have enough habitat to have 45 pairs of Whio.
We have 80 volunteers now, and 25,000 hectares under control and it's just gonna get better," Gibson says.