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Volunteers play key role in protecting our birds.

By Pam Ferla.

Over the past 12 months the volunteers of Pest Free Tairua have caught 584 rats, 40 hedgehogs, 22 possums and 18 mustelids – and that means more birds will survive and bring us joy.

Field Ranger for Predator Free Hauraki/Coromandel and Tairua resident, Renee Denby, is encouraged by the work of volunteers in Pest Free Tairua, dotterel protection and the national Kiwi Call Survey.

Pest Free Tairua covers over 500 hectares of land in Tairua with 324 traps. Each volunteer checks their trap line fortnightly, if the weather allows, otherwise monthly. There are 18 trap lines around Tairua, with one put in recently, and a 19th in progress. Renee says there are also traps in people's backyards, which are a huge help in the bid to eliminate pests.

“They have 15 active trappers among over 20 volunteers, but they can always do with more helping hands! The efforts of this team are making a huge difference in helping our native birds and invertebras survive. We would not have such successful results without their commitment.”

Renee was one of the co-ordinators for the national Kiwi Call Survey in which volunteers recently spent a couple of hours on four evenings listening for Kiwi calls. There are more than 80 volunteers across the peninsula and they are eagerly awaiting the results of this survey.

“It’s very exciting when you hear a Kiwi at a site that did not have one at last survey. I’m happy to say that we had enough volunteers this year to have four listening sites in this area. Pest Free Tairua doesn’t trap in Whenuakite block, but we’re hoping that some kiwi from there move out to find new territories, including Tairua. We are working hard to have our introduced predators under control, so we have a safe place for these kiwi.”

She said kiwi have been heard from the bottom of Pumpkin Hill for a while, and it is hoped they will continue to move around the back of Tairua and down to the south.

Renee also acknowledges those volunteers who are dedicated to protecting tuturiwhatu (dotterels) on our beaches and says these birds have been particularly vulnerable during recent wild weather.

The recent annual Garden Bird Survey is expected to confirm an increase in bird life in the area.

Renee studied ecology at Waikato University before moving to Tairua to work as a field ranger. As well as this role she also volunteers helping with trap lines.

Anyone wishing to support the work of PFT as a volunteer or through a donation is welcome to contact Pest Free Tairua coordinator, Allie Cotter, at

Caption: Field Ranger for Predator Free Hauraki/Coromandel, Renee Denby, says volunteers make a huge difference in helping native birds and invertebras survive.


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