Neil Candy reported that Jim Law had replaced Ken Cook as a trustee on the Waterfowl and Wetland Trust, which was “ticking along really well” with more than $500,000 in the bank.
Reporting on the work of Wetland Care, Will Abel said $10,800 had been spent on three wetlands in the past year, creating about 10 acres of wetland
Neil said the successful breeding of royal swans had been declining but fortunately had coincided with a drop in inquiries for them. The reason for the lack of breeding success was unknown and the few lightweight birds available from Peacock Springs in Canterbury meant it was difficult to tell the boys from the girls to find a breeding pair. Compatibility was another problem, with one bird sometimes killing its intended mate.
Neil Candy reported, on behalf of Peter Russell, that whio had had their best breeding-for-release season. Seven pairs in the North Island produced 75 eggs, with 46 surviving to be released. Of those birds, 15 went to Egmont National Park, 23 to Whanganui National Park and 8 to Tongariro National Park. In the South Island, four pairs produced 45 eggs, with 30 released, all in rivers around Hokitika.
Meanwhile, pateke in Northland have benefited from predator control introduced to protect kiwi in the area, and the ducks are now established from Mimiwhangata to Pataua North
Emma Williams reported that of one of four bitterns fitted with a transmitter at Lake Whatuma was missing, but it was hoped it would return for the breeding season. DU still has two transmitters to place.
Four other transmitters had been placed on chicks found starving in urban areas. They were rehabilitated and two were released in BOP and two in Canterbury. One has survived two years on and its transmitter had just died.
Paul Mason explained the layout of the new website which is now on a new platform and is more accessible to devices such as tablets and smartphones. Visitor numbers and search results for the website were healthy.
NZ GAME BIRD HABITAT TRUST
John Cheyne reported that the trust has allocated $96,000 in 2018 for 24 projects throughout New Zealand. In 2018, the trust had received 21 applications for funding to assist with wetland restoration and creation
Jim Law reported that restoration work at the Wairio wetland this year had cost $9500, bringing DU’s total expenditure over the 13 years since the project began to more than $215,000.
A plan to divert water from Matthews Lagoon to the wetland on its way into Lake Wairarapa was still awaiting approval from the Greater Wellington Regional Council.The council was continuing its predator control and its traps were serviced three or four times a year. Large numbers of mustelids and feral cats are still being caught, highlighting reinvasion as a serious problem. DOC was doing a good job of maintaining the bund wall walkways.
Wairarapa Moana, which encompasses Wairio, is included in a Treaty of Waitangi settlement, meaning ownership of the wetlands will be transferred to Ngati Kahungunu and Rangitane. Ngati Kahungunu, the principal iwi owner with 90 per cent, has indicated that it would like DU to carry on with its work and it will be business as usual. The iwi also wants to re-establish a Lake Wairarapa committee and it would like DU to be a part of that.