Havin' a chin wag with TCAG

We had the pleasure of catching up with the great crew up at Tongaporutu, keen to look after their local shorebirds, as part of Dotterel Defenders Curious Minds project.

Tongaporutu is a super important site for many nesting shorebirds, and turns out to be a really important feeding and breeding location for our mates the Tuturiwhatu or NZ Dotterel, as well as Little Blue Penguins and Variable Oystercatcher.

Keen local and champion Taranaki Conservationist Marlene Benson and her dad have been doing an amazing job of checking the traps that have been put in place by our team. Check out how many so far!

Some of the outcomes from our workshop include:

Everyone at the workshop was supportive of a Biodiversity Plan for the Tongaporutu Estuary Key Native Ecosystem. This will enable funding for signage, planting and increased trapping.

We formed a group, provisionally called the Tongaporutu Conservation Action Group (TCAG!), that the Biodiversity Plan can be written for. It was agreed that this group could also help out with other nearby coastal KNE’s including the Rapanui Wetland. A suggestion was made to meet four times a year.

There was support for a range of signage raising awareness of the significance of the spit as a shorebird nesting area. We will check if local schools are interested in making signs (Emma: Ahititi, Emily: Uruti). We will also follow up on some more official information signs before the breeding season starts. We will consult with Ngati Tama re the wording and location of any signage.

·We will put together a flyer for bach owners raising awareness of shorebirds on the spit and how to protect them.

Those at the meeting were in favour of a dog ban and camping ban on the spit/shorebird breeding area, which we will investigate further.

We plan to undertake a planting this winter on the spit where the fire took place in May to avoid disturbing Little Blue Penguin nesting .

Everyone was in support of increased trapping on the spit. We placed three more DOC200 traps . We could also add some T-rex rat traps.

There was support for discouraging people from visiting the spit during breeding season (Oct-Feb). Awareness could be raised via the flyer.

We had an amazing lunch catered by the The Corner Cafe in Urenui. Highly recommend it if you are passing through!

Thanks TCAG!! Love your work... Can't wait to see this amazing community initiative spread wings and take off!

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