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


How good are the Poor Knights? - By Ben Barr

Media Release – (Opinion Editorial/Column) 7 January 2014

How good are the Poor Knights?

By Ben Barr – NorthTec Conservation and Environmental Management Tutor

Click for big version.

The Poor Knights

Ridiculously good! I recently took NorthTec’s first year Conservation and Environmental Management students on a field trip with Dive! Tutukaka and it was nothing short of spectacular.

On the way across we saw a pod of bottlenose dolphins heading north, no doubt on an important mission for food or fancy. Half way to the Knights we discovered a lone seal sunbathing in the gin blue water, and a giant sunfish on a jellyfish hunt. The seal casually glanced at us with that innocent yet slightly mischievous look that only a seal can give, and then got back to his suntan.

When we reached the marine reserve it was all on! A massive rolling front of trevally was surface feeding on krill, who in turn were feeding on plankton that are so abundant at this time of the year. But it didn’t end there… a tsunami of Buller’s shearwaters swept across the shoal feeding on the krill the trevally were thoughtfully rounding up, and lazy snapper mooched below waiting for a free lunch (there is such a thing at the Poor Knights). The Buller’s shearwater only nest on the Poor Knight’s islands as there are no introduced pests there. A couple of million of these amazing birds will return to the islands during the night to feed their chicks, transferring nutrients from the sea to the land and thereby driving a completely different ecosystem – the Island’s forest.

Click for big version.

Tutor Ben Barr (third from left) with students at the Poor Knights.jpg

Under a canopy of pohutukawa, geckos and skinks feed directly on the fish the adult seabirds spill. These lizards will eat giant bugs and beetles but will need to watch out for huge tuatara, or even giant centipedes that have a taste for reptilian blood! The Poor Knight’s giant weta come out at night to feed on coastal vegetation that proliferates due to the nutrient-rich soils the seabirds help engineer. I’m not sure whether the icing on the Poor Knights cake are the giant flax snails or the choir of bellbirds and kakariki that sing of the joys of living on their own island. Either way, the Poor Knights are a jewel that needs to be celebrated… and an amazing place to go and learn about conservation and the environment.

NorthTec is the Tai Tokerau (Northland) region's largest provider of tertiary education, with campuses and learning centres in Whangarei, Kerikeri, Rāwene, Kaikohe and Kaitaia.  NorthTec also has over 60 community-based delivery points from Coatesville in rural Rodney to Ngataki in the Far North.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines



Relevant Consents Gained: Government Unveils RMA Reform Package

The government has formally hauled down the flag on its attempts to alter the balance of environmental and economic priorities in the Resource Management Act, unveiling a 180-page Resource Legislation Amendment Bill containing reforms that have been largely endorsed by most political parties. More>>


Closing Schools And Such: Interim Redcliffs Decision Announced

“While the school’s board has argued that circumstances that could give rise to potential disruption are extremely unlikely, advice from technical experts has shown these concerns cannot be ruled out." More>>


Jane Kelsey: High Court Can’t Make Groser Provide TPPA Information Faster

‘This week we went back to court to challenge Trade Minister Groser’s stalling tactics over the release of information on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement negotiations, following a High Court order that he reconsider the Official Information Act request I made last January’, said University of Auckland law professor Jane Kelsey, first applicant in the case. More>>

Werewolf 58: No Climate For Change

The last time the global community tried to take collective action on climate change the world’s leaders finally came to agree that every not-too-onerous effort should be made to hold global warming to 2°C above the pre-industrial average. At Paris, all 150 participant countries nations will have put forward their pledges... On the information available, New Zealand's is the second weakest contribution of any nation in the developed world. More>>


Lambton Quay Shutdown: Object Was Made To Look Like Bomb

Police cordoned off part of Lambton Quay Wednesday afternoon, saying that a suspicious package had been found. Buildings were evacuated and buses were detoured. The army’s explosive ordnance disposal unit was brought to the Quay. More>>


Public Sector Still Shrinking: Record Low Number Of 'Backroom Bureaucrats'

Ongoing restraint in the public sector and a focus on better frontline services has seen a further reduction in the number of core Government employees, State Services Minister Paula Bennett says. More>>


Disobeying The Law: Police Censorship Of Crime Research “An Outrage”

The Green Party is calling on Police Minister Michael Woodhouse to ensure Police scrap controversial contracts that place onerous restrictions on academic researchers’ access to Police data, the Green Party says. More>>


Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news