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.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

PARLIAMENT TODAY:

Gordon Campbell: On The Economic Bad News (And Turkey’s Fears About The Kurds)

Traditionally, voters regard National as a more competent manager of the economy. It is the sole upside of crony capitalism: surely these guys must know what their mates in business want and need. These last few months though, have put that faith sorely to the test... More>>

ALSO:

Discussion Document: Fresh Look At Family Violence Laws

A discussion document launched today takes a hard look at the way the law prevents and responds to family violence, and proposes a comprehensive rethink to strengthen New Zealand’s legislative response. More>>

ALSO:

PM's Presser: ‘Precarious’ Solid Energy In Banks’ Hands

Liquidation of state-owned coal company Solid Energy “cannot be ruled out” but is “not the number one preferred option of the government,” says Prime Minister John Key, who confirmed the beleaguered company was discussed today at Cabinet as its banking syndicate grapples with its commercially dire prospects. More>>

ALSO:

Missed Opportunities: Amnesty International Report Card On NZ's UN Role

As New Zealand steps down from its month as President of the Council, Amnesty International has taken the opportunity to review New Zealand’s role on the Council so far and assess their performance and contribution to protecting human rights worldwide. More>>

ALSO:

Prince Charles Get More Jobs: PM Announces Honorary Military Appointments

PM John Key has announced that Her Majesty The Queen has approved the appointment of HRH The Prince of Wales to three honorary positions: Admiral of the Fleet of the Royal New Zealand Navy; Field Marshal, New Zealand Army; Marshal of the Royal New Zealand Air Force. More>>

ALSO:

No TPP Deal: Gordon Campbell On Why We Should Still Oppose Investor-State Dispute Measures

Even in this dark hour for the TPP, the secrecy farce continues... What is left to hide? Every single negotiator went into those talks in Maui knowing exactly where everyone else stood. More>>

REACTION:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Regional
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news