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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.


Wasp Blitz Weekend 2022 Funding Success

Off the back of increasing complaints about the wasps in summer, the Waiatarua R&R are very happy to announce the local board have given us funding for a joint project with Oratia R&R to decrease the wasp population out here.

The funding allows us to train up to 10 volunteers who will work together to place bait stations on up to 80 properties. The bait (Vespex, a low-toxicity insecticide, which targets the yellow jacket Vespula vulgaris species) is taken back to, and kills the queen, which collapses the colony. This blitz will be carried out over one weekend as it needs to be done all at once, so colonies don’t simply “find another queen”. In addition we are aiming for late summer as this is the best feeding time and means wasps won’t have time to build up another colony before the cold weather sets in. Fingers crossed the blitz should allow more of us to head outdoors into our backyards and wander through the bush without coming under attack from yellow jackets.

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Longer Loan Times

From the beginning of August, we will be extending the time you borrow library books from two weeks to four weeks, the same as other libraries, so you won’t have to hurry to finish your books any more.

We have received some great new books for you to read these cold winter evenings. Here are a few of them:-

David Baldacci A Gambling Man
Michael ConnellyThe Law of Innocence
Kathy Reichs The Bone Code
Paul Cleave The Quiet Man
Anders Roslund Knock Knock
Katie Fforde A Wedding in the Country
Wilbur Smith Legacy of War
Peter MayThe Night Gate

We look forward to seeing you all soon.

– Barbara Field

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.


Celebration and Honours

In June we held our Fire Brigade Honours celebration. Our Chief Fire Officer Kevin Healy received his 25 Year Gold Star and Deputy Chief Ian Ford received two gold bars to his Gold Star in recognition of 35 and 37 years of service to the Waiatarua Brigade. Station Officer Steve Smith received two silver bars for 19 and 21 years service.

Kevin has been part of the Waiatarua Community since the 1990s. During this time he has been a part of the Drama Group, Residents & Ratepayers and as an elected member of the Waitakere Community Board. His involvement with the Fire Brigade started in 1995 when the Brigade was looking to put on a play, written by Tony Holt, to fundraise for the new Fire Station (still to be built at that point).

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