A fine weather window saw the Department of Conservation (DOC) and the Ngatiwai Trust Board complete an operation to eradicate kiore (Pacific rats) off Taranga (Hen) Island.
By sunrise on Sunday morning (29 May 2011), the Skywork helicopter was loaded and ready for the first drop and by early afternoon, the operation was complete. “Everything went smoothly,” said Project Manager Keith Hawkins, “we had calm weather conditions, a professional operations team and received good cooperation from the public.”
Restoration of Taranga Island was only possible if rats were eliminated and now that this stage is complete, we will see a natural recovery of the ecosystem and the rare and endangered species previously only surviving there in low numbers.
After years of collaboration, this is a milestone for both the Ngatiwai Trust Board and DOC. “Ngatiwai are pleased with the environmental and cultural outcomes that Project Restore will create and look forward to monitoring the recovery of the native biota on Taranga Island, which has been a valuable cultural storehouse to Ngatiwai for hundreds of years” said Clive Stone, Ngatiwai Trust Board Resource Manager.
The public are reminded that the rahui (voluntary restriction) on taking seafood from within 50 metres of the mean high water mark of Taranga Island will remain in place for approximately 4-6 weeks and will be informed when this is lifted.
To prevent future reinvasion, boaties are requested to ensure that their boats are kept pest free. Landing on Taranga Island is by permit only.