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A new home for Pūrangi’s native species

New Plymouth District Council’s Puke Ariki officially opens its latest exhibition: Pūrangi – a home for native species. A permanent instalment found in the Taranaki Naturally Gallery (on the second floor of the museum), it highlights the important work of Pūrangi kiwi across 13,000 hectares of land. That’s substantial – by comparison Egmont National Park is on 34,000 ha.

The exhibit tells the story of the project from inception in 2004 through to today. Pūrangi kiwi is home to a number of different native species including western brown kiwi, long tailed bats, glow worms and in June this year 20 kokako were re-introduced to the area.

The exhibit has focused on two of New Zealand’s endangered species found in Purangi. Kiwi and pekapeka – New Zealand’s critically endangered long-tailed bat. It’s showcased through a bat cave with glow worm display, peek-a-boo quiz panels, interactive video footage and an entertaining digital diary of kiwi encounters and interesting visitors to the project. From idea to completion it’s been two years in the making and there’s more to come. In time the bat cave glow worms will evolve into a fully immersive bat experience developed with the help of a design expert. Jeremias Volker is an Interaction Designer specialist who specialises in creating interactive installations and experiences.

Brent Woodhead Chief Executive of Pūrangi kiwi said “we’re excited about the permanent display as not many people are aware of the work being done to protect the unique flora and fauna of New Zealand, let alone what we’re doing right here in Taranaki”. There has been 15 years of predator control driven by founding members Karen and Bob Schumacher and supported by generosity of many volunteers and charitable trusts across the country. The hard work is really starting to pay off. “When the Schumacher’s first heard kiwi on their property they decided to do something about it. And after a lot of hard work there are now 4,000 western brown kiwi spread across 13,000 hectares” Woodhead said.

Puke Ariki Manager, Kelvin Day says “NPDC and Puke Ariki are committed to forming long-term partnerships and developing projects that benefit our community and enhance our environment.
We’re delighted to have had support from the Taranaki Regional Council and to have joined with the East Taranaki Environment Trust to bring attention to one of New Zealand’s largest community environment schemes.”

Karen Moratti who led the project for Pūrangi kiwi said “This is a fantastic opportunity to share the success of Purangi kiwi with the people of Taranaki, New Zealand and the rest of the world. And the team at Puke Ariki have done an amazing job in bringing our story to life”. The exhibit is designed to engage with all visitors providing information about kiwi and bats that many people may not know.

You don’t need to go to Pūrangi enjoy the unique flora and fauna of New Zealand – but we think you should. Purangi kiwi is found 40km east of Inglewood. Over summer there two walks easily accessible by the public. There’s the 2 ½ hour Otunahe walk or the 30 minute hidden valley walk – which if done at night through arranged guided walks you’ll see glow worms and may hear kiwi call.
The exhibit opens on Thursday 29 November 2018 and runs indefinitely.


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