July 2022 Newsletter
Tena koutou katoa,
We are currently laying the groundwork so that operations can begin this winter.
In April we sought expressions of interest from companies and sole traders interested in helping the project in the first stages of its vision of a predator-free Aotea and found sufficient capacity on the island to fill the 30 positions required.
We are now putting together the contracts, training, health and safety and procurement to support the field roles that will soon be advertised.
In May, the Ngāti Rehua Ngātiwai ki Aotea Trust hosted a hui at Kawa to discuss the project with mana whenua and shareholders of Māori blocks. This was an important step in, understanding concerns, building relationships and including tikanga in this work. Further discussions and hui with mana whenua, the community and landowners are planned.
Te Papa Atawhai, the Department of Conservation, is assisting us in working through the permissions and protocols required for beginning fieldwork.
We are looking forward to seeing boots on the ground soon.
Makere Jenner, Project Lead
Feasibility study informing operations and the pathway to eradication.
The Tū Mai Taonga Project has completed a feasibility study and is now preparing an operational plan designed to remove feral cats and rats from the motu.
The feasibility study concluded it should be possible to remove feral cats from Aotea but difficult to remove rats using currently available tools.
The study is now informing an operational plan, currently being reviewed with the steering committee, a technical advisory group and funders. The plan takes into account the expressed concerns of mana whenua, the community and landowners. As a living document, the operations plan will be updated throughout the project as these concerns and the needs of the project evolve.
The proposed pathway to the removal of rats and feral cats begins in the north. With appropriate permissions, rat work on the offshore islands can help the project understand and develop techniques to remove rats and defend them from reinvasion.
Feral cat removal could start in and around Te Paparahi and learnings from island rat work could be applied.
The aim is to build a well-trained and removal-focused conservation workforce that can partner with and support agency efforts and work alongside community groups and landowners.
With confidence and proof of concept for removal methods in the far north and with mana whenua, community and landowner support, operations can extend to Okiwi, then progressively to central and southern areas.
As a part of a long-term vision for the island, this pathway to the removal of rats and feral cats is guided by the tikanga and manaakitanga of Ngāti Rehua Ngātiwai ki Aotea.
Operations Manager Appointed
Chris Giblin has been appointed Operations Manager for the Tū Mai Taonga Project. He will be familiar to many islanders, with a lengthy background in island-based conservation and pest eradication work, including time as manager of Glenfern Sanctuary with his wife Sarah.
Chris will coordinate all the contracted fieldwork carried out under the operational plan. He says the rugged terrain in the north means work will be demanding at times, but it will provide great opportunities for kaimahi wanting to build skills in conservation and return to the island to work.
He is pictured here showing the lay of the land to Predator Free 2050 Limited’s Melissa Brignell-Theyer, who visited the island recently.
Outdoor First Aid Training at Kawa Marae
Tū Mai Taonga sponsored an Outdoor First Aid training course at Kawa Marae recently in preparation for getting teams safely out in the field. The course was well attended by sole contractors and employees of conservation companies. The training, delivered by Peak Safety, was comprehensive and engaging, instilling confidence in its attendees. We look forward to inviting Peak Safety back for another course when we have finished recruiting our field team.
We’ll host meetings with the wider community to outline our plans shortly so keep an eye out for an invite.
Thank you to our funders and supporters: Predator Free 2050 Limited, Auckland Council, the Department of Conservation, mana whenua, community groups and sanctuaries around the motu.