A massive effort is underway to turn Maungaharuru in northern Hawkes Bay back into a colony for endangered seabirds. The latest arrival of Kōrure (Mottled Petrel) will boost numbers there as part of the Poutiri Ao o Tāne project to repopulate the birds.
After a long journey from Codfish Island, this mottled petrel is one of 46 to arrive at its new home on Maungaharuru.
Cathy Mitchell - Kaitiaki Kōrure says, “They used to breed here and we'd like to bring them back to their place where they used to be.”
Matiu Eru - Maungaharuru Tangitū Trust says, “This has been a long time coming and there is still a way to go but the main thing is that they have returned home.”
Maungaharuru was once abundant with this now endangered mottle. These days this is one of only two places in the country where it can be found.
Matiu Eru - Kaumatua Maunga Haruru Tangitu says, ”With this project there are a lot of people that think, oh yes, we can have a feed of tītī, but our grandchildren of today won't be able to harvest this bird, if we look to the future it could be at least 100 years before we go back to doing that.”
But this little bird holds the key to keeping our New Zealand eco-system going and the key is in its faeces.
“That provides heaps of nutrients on which a lot of our bush and our other native birds relied on for their sustenance, so they're quite an important thing which is actually missing at the moment,” says Mitchell.
The last stop now is to settle in to their new burrow until they are strong enough to take flight.