Date: 15 April 2009
Mana Island and Zealandia, the focus of world-leading conservation initiatives, are among the top 25 ecological restoration sites in Australia and New Zealand.
They are among eight New Zealand sites selected by a cross-Tasman panel of eminent ecologists in a competition run by the international Global Restoration Network. The contest was part of the preparation for a major ecological restoration conference being held in Perth in August.
Mana Island was selected for the complexity and diversity of restoration activities, dating back to 1986, and the high level of community involvement. The restoration plan for the island was written by Department of Conservation analyst Dr Colin Miskelly.
“This is a huge accolade for the many volunteers from the Friends of Mana Island, Forest and Bird Society, and other community groups who raised funds, planted trees, fed seabirds, built nest-boxes and undertook innumerable other tasks,” Dr Miskelly said.
He said the panel was particularly impressed with the pioneering efforts made to restore seabirds to the island, which included volunteers hand-feeding sardine or krill smoothies to 704 fluffy chicks over a 10-year period.
“Many of these chicks have returned, and we now have diving petrels and fairy prions breeding on the island.”
The Karori Sanctuary Trust, which manages Zealandia, has achieved many successes in the decade since its ground-breaking fence was completed and introduced pests eradicated.
“Not only have we demonstrated that fenced mainland islands are a viable addition to offshore island sanctuaries, we have also made some of New Zealand’s most threatened species much more accessible to New Zealanders and overseas visitors,” Trust chairman Richard Bentley said.
“Many of these species had not been brought back to the mainland before, including little spotted kiwi, saddlebacks, stitchbirds, tuatara, Maud Island frogs and Cook Strait giant weta. This award is a tribute to the many sponsors, trust members and volunteers who were prepared to try something bold and new, and have set a benchmark for other projects to aspire to.”
Other New Zealand projects selected by the panel were Tiritiri Matangi Island, Rotoiti nature recovery project, Te Urewera mainland island, Fiordland Islands restoration project, Maungatautari ecological island, and Bushy Park sanctuary.
Colin Miskelly, DOC Conservation Analyst and Karori Sanctuary Trust Board member:
DDI +64 4 470 8420, cell +64 21 266 2211
Colin Ryder, President, Friends of Mana Island Society:
DDI +64 4 460 3325, cell +64 21 038 3655
Nancy McIntosh-Ward, Karori Sanctuary Trust chief executive:
Work +64 4 920 9200 cell +64 21 480 399