Introduction

Meet the people in DOC's Takahē Recovery Team.

Highlights

Takahe Recovery logo.

DOC has a dedicated Takahē Recovery Team of ten staff, who are continually researching and employing effective management techniques to ensure this special bird is not lost forever.

  • Operations Manager: Deidre Vercoe
  • Science Advisor: Andrew Digby
  • Technical Advisor: Daryl Eason
  • Takahē Rangers: Glen Greaves, Nichollette Brown, Phil Marsh, Jason van de Wetering, Chris Philips, Robert Brown and Julie Harvey.

Deidre Vercoe, Operations Manager

Deidre with takahe.
Deidre Vercoe

Deidre holds everything and everyone together as the Conservation Services Manager for Takahē Recovery.  When the going gets tough…see Deidre!

Having joined the Department of Conservation in 2002 as a kākāpō ranger, Deidre is no stranger to the challenges of isolated environments and long days out in all weather, all in the name of threatened species management.

In 2013, following a departmental restructure, Deidre took on the challenge of managing not one, but two complex endangered species programmes as the Conservation Services Manager for Kākāpō and Takahē.

These days she’s mainly found chasing emails and meetings – but relishes the opportunities to work alongside the team on any aspects of Takahē Recovery. 

"My role in the team keeps me absolutely flat out busy, but it’s a rewarding challenge, helping to steer the direction for both recovery programmes – and the team is simply awesome to work with!"

Andrew Digby, Science Advisor

Andrew holding takahe outdoors.
Andrew Digby

Andrew is the scientist on the team. He makes sure the Takahē Recovery Team receives scientific advice to guide takahē conservation. This involves liaising with experts, reviewing research, designing field trials, and running statistical analyses and modelling to understand the data gathered. The topics of takahē research are varied: from population dynamics to genetics, predator-prey interactions to avian diseases, from trials of new transmitters to bird repellents.

Andrew loves his work. "It's every conservation biologists dream; the application of a wide variety of scientific fields and methods to make a real difference to the survival of an endangered species."

Getting away from his desk and into the field makes Andrew’s role even more appealing.

"Field work is important to conservation research; it helps me develop a much fuller understanding of takahē behaviour and habitat and a greater appreciation of the issues associated with their conservation."

Daryl Eason, Technical Advisor

Daryl in helicopter.
Daryl Eason

Daryl spent 10 years working for the Takahē Recovery Programme, incubating eggs, hand-rearing chicks, managing the Burwood Takahē Centre and undertaking field work in the Murchison Mountains. He completed his Diploma in Wildlife Management on artificial incubation and the sexing of takahē and then moved on to use his special skills hand-rearing kākāpō.

Daryl says the skills of bird rearing come naturally to him. "It’s just something that I have always been interested in and wanted to do, and seem to be good at doing."

He has worked for the Kākāpō Recovery Programme for the last 17 years. Now Takahē Recovery has him back in the fold providing technical advice on takahē conservation, though his skills are still shared with the Kākāpō Recovery Programme.

Takahē Rangers

Takahē Rangers undertake both the field work and the planning and management for much of the Takahē Recovery Programme;

Glen Greaves is the senior ranger of the team. He oversees the broader direction of the programme and the productivity of the takahē. This means he oversees the pairing of birds and where they are sent to ensure that the breeding population is as productive and genetically healthy as possible.

Nichollette Brown oversees the running of the Burwood Takahē Centre. She is responsible for managing both the site and ensuring the captive breeding programme runs smoothly.

Jason van de Wetering monitors the wild population in the Murchison Mountains. He is also tasked with the exciting (and huge) challenge of finding and successfully introducing birds into a new wild recovery site.

Phil Marsh liaises with all the islands, mainland sanctuaries and display sites holding takahē around the country, providing advice on the care of takahē and managing the transfer of birds between sites.

Chris Phillips is based at Burwood Takahē Centre and is responsible for the maintenance of Burwood and the care of the takahē held there.

Sam Haultain helps with the day to day running of Burwood.

Julie Harvey is the advocacy ranger for the team.  She’s responsible for sharing the takahē story far and wide, helping people engage with takahē conservation and building support for takahē and the Takahē Recovery Programme.

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