DOC on site checking new rock placement at Kennedy Point Marina
Image: DOC


DOC staff visited the Kennedy Point Marina site on Waiheke Island yesterday to confirm no kororā/little penguins were trapped under newly placed rocks.

Date:  18 August 2023

On the morning of 16 August, a DOC ecologist and the developer-contracted ecologists inspected the entire area, from the beach to the breakwater, for kororā sign and activity.

DOC's understanding is the developer's ecologist checked the site for kororā in the morning to ensure the placement of the rocks that afternoon, to reinstate the breakwater in and around the wharf, would not impact the birds.

The ecologists located three burrows in the area which were occupied by kororā who are sitting, or likely to be sitting, on eggs.

The ecologists inspected the area adjacent to and underneath the wharf, where the rocks were subsequently placed. There were no active burrows or penguins in residence at the location. One active burrow (burrow 10) was immediately adjacent to the area where rocks were subsequently placed.

The rocks were placed largely on bare earth, near where the wharf connects to the breakwater. Such areas do not provide shelter to kororā.

On 17 August, following community concerns of that kororā were trapped overnight, DOC staff re-visited the Kennedy Point Marina area.

Our DOC ecologist thoroughly checked the area, and confirmed there were no kororā present under the newly placed rocks.

They reconfirmed the presence of the bird in burrow 10, and ensured it had access in and out of the burrow. The rocks had been placed on the formerly bare earth to the left of the burrow.

A former burrow site under the wharf, burrow 5, has shown no penguin activity since June 2022. Previous rock settling from before 16 August had made it inaccessible to penguins.

During the day, penguins that are not nesting go out to feed and return to the area at night. It is likely they will explore the newly placed rocks in the days to come. If they were to navigate under the new rock pile, they would do that of their own accord and therefore they would be able to exit. Kororā calling at night is part of their usual behaviour.

We will continue to stay in contact with community, iwi, and council on their concerns.

The developer is required to work within the resource consent conditions issued by Auckland Council, which includes the Penguin Management and Monitoring Plan.

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