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Dame Kiri To Launch Kerurü Discovery Project

Dame Kiri To Launch Kerurü Discovery Project At Te Papa

The nationwide Kererü (native wood pigeon) Discovery Project is being launched at a media conference on Te Papa’s marae at 10.00am on Friday 11 August 2006.

Dame Kiri Te Kanawa has kindly agreed to be the patron of the project, and will also be at the media conference to officially launch the project.

“New Zealand’s beautiful native wood pigeon, the kererü, is declining and needs your help. The Kerurü Discovery Project will show you how your garden can make a vital difference to the survival of this threatened species,” Dame Kiri said.

The kererü is New Zealand’s only native pigeon and the only species capable of eating and dispersing the large fruits of tree species such as karaka, tawa, and taraire. Thus, kererü are critical to healthy forest ecosystems. Unfortunately, habitat destruction, hunting, and introduced predators have reduced their numbers and they are now in decline. As much as a 20% reduction is predicted every 10 years. However, the kererü will readily live among people, so what people plant in their urban gardens can be critical to kererü survival.

The Kererü Discovery Project is a national programme, being rolled out from Wellington in August 2006. It is a partnership between Te Papa, Wellington Zoo, Karori Wildlife Sanctuary, Pukaha Mt Bruce National Wildlife Centre (Department of Conservation), and Victoria University of Wellington, with partnership of institutions in Auckland and Christchurch in development.

The aim of the project is to help kererü populations thrive in New Zealand’s urban areas which are now safer habitats than the forests for the kererü. To do this Te Papa, in conjunction with the project partners, is developing a coordinated programme of research, education, and exhibitions that ultimately lead to community action. The project is bicultural, and Mätauranga Mäori (traditional Mäori knowledge) plays a significant role.

Project Leader, Te Papa’s Dr Eric Dorfman, said that the importance of this project is that the benefits are tangible.

“People are not being asked to contribute money to a remote species they cannot see. Rather, they are learning the practicalities of making their own environments attractive to the kererü, creating a life-long personal association. Even more important, the suburbs of New Zealand’s cities and towns will provide vital habitat for kererü that is steadily declining in the wild”, Dr Dorfman said.

The project is set to run a number of years, and will be associated with a long-term exhibition at Te Papa, a highly interactive website, documentary for national distribution, and programmes for education and community action.

People wishing to help can register for the Programme on the website and learn about how to make their gardens attractive to kererü.


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