Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search


Whiteheads return to Hunuas

Whiteheads return to Hunuas

Up to 40 native whiteheads (popokatea) will be released into the Hunua Ranges this Saturday, returning the species to mainland Auckland for the first time in more than 120 years.

The Auckland Regional Council initiative comes two years after it successfully reintroduced the North Island robin was successfully to the same area.

ARC Parks and Heritage Committee Chairman Bill Burrill says the birds will be transferred from Tiri Tiri Matangi Island to the 600 hectare block in the Hunuas which is home to the joint ARC-DoC kokako recovery project.

“The intensive pest control we have done there since 1995 has seen success, not only in the kokako recovery project but also in the return of other species, such as the North Island robin,” Cr Burrill says.

“It has assisted with the spread of bellbirds across the Hunuas. Kaka are known to frequent the area which also supports high numbers of Hochstetter’s frogs and native bats.”

Like the robin and bellbird, the whitehead is a native forest bird which has survived in other parts of the North Island, but which has become extinct from about Hamilton north. It has been absent from the Hunua Ranges since about 1880 when ship rats may have wiped out the original population.

The whitehead spends most of its time in the very tops of trees, eating insects and spiders (and some berries). Whiteheads fly around in noisy, fast-moving flocks of up to 30 birds. To Maori these flocks were a warning that ghosts (kehua) were about.

The whitehead’s return to the Hunuas may lead to the natural return of another species – the long-tailed cuckoo. Like all cuckoos, the long-tailed cuckoo relies on another species to rear its young. In November and December, it often lays its egg in the whitehead’s nest, leaving the whitehead to raise a chick which will eventually grow to seven times the weight of its foster parent.

Cr Burrill says this Saturday’s release the transfer has the blessing of DoC and the local iwi. The timing of the release will allow the birds to benefit from the pest control carried out over the summer. It will also give them time to establish territories and form pairs before they start breeding next spring.

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Sector Opposes Bill: Local Government Bill Timeframe Extended

The Minister of Local Government Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga has asked the Select Committee to extend the report back date for the Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No 2). More>>


Breed Laws Don’t Work: Vets On New National Dog Control Plan

It is pleasing therefore to see Louise Upston Associate Minister for Local Government calling for a comprehensive solution... However, relying on breed specific laws to manage dog aggression will not work. More>>


Not Waiting On Select Committee: Green Party Releases Medically-Assisted Dying Policy

“Adults with a terminal illness should have the right to choose a medically assisted death,” Green Party health spokesperson Kevin Hague said. “The Green Party does not support extending assisted dying to people who aren't terminally ill because we can’t be confident that this won't further marginalise the lives of people with disabilities." More>>


General Election Review: Changes To Electoral Act Introduced

More effective systems in polling places and earlier counting of advanced votes are on their way through proposed changes to our electoral laws, Justice Minister Amy Adams says. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Our Posturing At The UN

In New York, Key basically took an old May 2 Washington Post article written by Barack Obama, recycled it back to the Americans, and still scored headlines here at home… We’ve had a double serving of this kind of comfort food. More>>


Treaty Settlements: Bills Delayed As NZ First Pulls Support

Ngāruahine, Te Atiawa and Taranaki are reeling today as they learnt that the third and final readings of each Iwi’s Historical Treaty Settlement Bills scheduled for this Friday, have been put in jeopardy by the actions of NZ First. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Damage De-Regulation Is Doing To Fisheries And Education, Plus Kate Tempest

Our faith in the benign workings of the market – and of the light-handed regulation that goes with it – has had a body count. Back in 1992, the free market friendly Health Safety and Employment Act gutted the labour inspectorate and turned forestry, mining and other workplace sites into death traps, long before the Pike River disaster. More>>

Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news