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The Great Kereru Count

Its not too late to join in the last week of the last ever Kereru Count

This is the last year of the Great Kererū Count. After this, there will be eight years of data which will provide a scientifically robust understanding of trends, and on how best to help kererū.

Tony Stoddard of Kererū Discovery, who coordinates the Count, says that community participation over the last seven years has been a privilege to be part of.

Stoddard, who is a passionate advocate for kererū, encourages everyone to take part in the final count down. “Over the last seven years there has been a total of 52,034 observations, and 119,910 kererū counted. For this final count, it’s important that as many people as possible join in. It’s super easy, good for you, and good for kererū.”

Kererū only live in Aotearoa New Zealand, are protected birds, and tāonga to many. Once there were large flocks of kererū, and now they are mostly seen singly or in small numbers perching on trees or overhead wires. Kererū are critical in keeping native forests growing because they are the only way that seeds of large native trees like tawa, taraire, hinau and miro are dispersed.

Dr Stephen Hartley, Director of the Centre for Biodiversity & Restoration Ecology at Victoria University of Wellington, says that last year there was a 50% increase in sightings from 2019.

“Despite this, there is a worrying recent report from the NZ Bird Atlas that numbers may be declining in the South Island. The Great Kererū Count is about New Zealand working together as community scientists to gain a better understanding of kererū so we can help them thrive. Whether you see any kererū or not, sharing observations is helping us get a great picture of where kererū live, their abundance, and most importantly how best to protect them.

From the data we already have, we know that some of the best ways people can help kererū in their community is by planting trees like kowhai which is the most common tree people have seen kererū feeding on.”

Dr Hartley also expects to see the importance of pest control for boosting kererū numbers. Kererū lay a single egg which is very vulnerable to being eaten by rats, possums and stoats.

Although this is the last year of the Great Kererū Count, Kererū Discovery will continue so that people can keep sharing their stories and encounters and continue to build a shared understanding of kererū. Analysis of the eight years of data will be completed by Sam Rammell a post-graduate student at Victoria University of Wellington.

The Great Kererū Count is a collaborative project led by Urban Wildlife Trust & Kererū Discovery together with partners Wellington City Council, Dunedin City Council/City Sanctuary, Nelson City Council and Victoria University of Wellington.

 

Notorious Intersection Strikes Again

Our notorious Scenic Drive, Piha Road  intersection has been unusually free of accidents and incidents over the recent 12 to 18 months. This may be attributed to Covid 19 and the resulting absence of overseas tourists who usually drive on the opposite side of the road to New Zealand. Due to the “confused” layout of this intersection these visitors have often found navigating through this intersection  a challenge that has resulted in many incidents in previous years. Unfortunately on Thursday 15 July, a driver missed the roadway completely and smashed into the bush between the convergence of the Piha Rd and Quinns  Rd. The police reported that the female driver has suffered serious but not life threatening injury.

The accident was attended by a number of police cars and the bottom right photo shows a police officer in the middle of the intersection  taking measurements and photos. Above and to the left of him the camera on a pole has been installed by Auckland Transport to monitor accidents and incidents.

 

Waiatarua Community Hall

undergoes interior facelift

The interior of the hall is looking very smart with the old, tatty curtains having been recently replaced with automatic blackout blinds, as can be seen in the two photographs. The WRRA have also purchased a sound system which is portable with wheels, and comes with two cordless mics. It’s a sturdy unit that has the ability to also do Bluetooth, SD card, radio, all built in. In addition we have a new projector screen installed. Everything has been tested in the hall and everything is working well.

Big thanks to Matt Smith who organised the ordering and installation of the blinds and Marq Holibar who sorted out the new sound system and projector.

Now that we have this new equipment in our hall we are in a better position to host community events — but we need YOUR input as to what you would like to see there. A few ideas might be quiz nights, movie nights (which can easily be held during the summer months now that we have blackout blinds), debates, or Bitchin’ bingo. How about some fitness classes such as yoga or pilates? How about a brainstorming evening at the hall to discuss event ideas? We really need more community engagement so that we can host events at our hall which is at present very under-utilised.

Contact Tom Hoey on president@waiatarua.org.nz with all your brilliant ideas, of which there are sure to be many!

Nolas Housing Development

In last month’s newsletter we highlighted this issue and asked those interested to please write to their minister and councillors high- lighting issues like to traffic, schooling and train transport. To follow is the letter the Association wrote on behalf of residents and that was sent to all concerned. This has been well received and our local Minister Dr Deborah Russell has told us in person that she agrees with the points raised and will ensure that she follow it up with the right people.

“The Waiatarua Residents and Ratepayers association (WRRA) has some serious concerns in regards to the development that is pro- posed under the COVID fast tracks legislation at the Glen Eden/ Oratia Boundary (the old Nolas orchard).

Of particular concern is traffic congestion for the following reasons:

Most of our residents utilise West Coast Road to go to work, shop, visit doctors, drop off children at Oratia Primary school etc.

TheroundaboutatParrsCrossiscongestedandbadlylaidoutasit stands with many near misses on a daily basis.

We have concerns that there is no upgrade considered in this de- velopment despite a significant number of new residents and cars that will be fed on to West Coast Road.

Of particular concern is the suggestion that that the entrance to the development from West Coast road is a left in left out only, with residents then required to use the roundabout to U-turn back to the city.

We can see the logic behind this for safety reasons if there is no intention to insert another roundabout or to mount traffic lights at the entry and exit point, but as it stands this will create a build up of morning traffic in particular from those coming from the new de- velopment, using the roundabout which will mean a potential mas- sive build up of traffic coming from the west into the city.

Many of our residents currently use the train system to get to work with park and ride options available at nearby Sunnyvale and Glen Eden. Both these areas are already at capacity by 7.30am each day with travellers required to find parking nearby to the station which is already under stress. We have concerns that this development relies heavily on its residents utilising trains, and as it is, is further than the average 800m zone that most people are comfortable walking to public transport. We will as a result see added pressure on car parking around the train stations with users required to park further away or give up on public transport ad drive.

Parrs Park is the nearest urban/recreation park with almost all of

the existing facilities (basketball Courts, dog off-leash, children’s playground) at peak times. We would like to see planning in place for new facilities for our residents. To cater for the additional 800 or so residents across the road will bring additional pressure to this park.

Many of our residents’ children are in-zone for, and currently at- tend, Oratia Primary School. The large scale of this development means that there is likely to be a significant increase to roll numbers that will potentially put a lot of pressure on the resources on the school. We would like to see what plans are in place to ensure that the zoning system will not be changed and what extra resources are being considered.

Although the development itself is outside the Waitakere Heritage Area its large scale will have a flow on effect that will be impacted by the Act that governs the area For example the growth of Oratia Primary School is limited due to its protection as a “country” feel school under the Waitakere Ranges Heritage Area Act. Can you assure us that these impacts are being considered and include us in these discussions? We have the knowledge within our Association toassistgreatlyinthedecisionmakingprocessandwanttobein- volved so that the requirements of the Act are enforced..

Insummarywebelievethattheaboveeffectsespeciallyinregards to the residents who live further out have not been fully consid- ered. There is no doubt that all residents in the area will be im- pacted by the additional pressure on infrastructure that a develop- ment of this scale will have.

We want to see a development that has been properly planned for and assurance that these impacts are fully considered and adequate funding is available to support the existing as well as the new resi- dents.

Rita Steel, our Environmental Lead and Tom Hoey (WRRA President) are available to meet with you and discuss the content of this letter. You can contact Tom on the number below or email

sciencemademediot@gmail.com;

president@waiatarua.org.nz