I’m watching the
same kaka (and their children) feed from the apples that I’ve put
out every morning on those nails I hammered into that manuka stump
four years ago for those Auckland University guys to lure in the
birds for their study. They never told me to stop feeding them, so
for no greater reason than I enjoy the company, I’ve been doing it
But this morning
there seems to be some greater purpose for doing this. This morning
I’m not cutting the apples into increasingly thinner segments to
make the bag last longer in case this is the last lot I’m ever going
to buy for my regular morning congregation.
Sanctuary is in public ownership…for perpetuity. Today I won’t be on
the phone to councillors, members of parliament or representatives
of funding bodies, reciting the same statistics over and over again.
I won’t be updating what has now become an opus of a business plan,
to convince the auditors and lawyers that, yes, this place will not
only cover its own costs but perhaps even make you money if you just
give us a chance.
For the first time
since that fateful night we shuffled Tony Bouzaid onto the Westpac
rescue chopper, I am thinking not of how to just stay open for
another month, but actually about doing long-term, effective
restoration work. It’s strange now to think of this as an
afterthought – something so fundamental.
In saying that, I’m
now looking at what we have achieved in the last four years despite
this major uncertainty – it seems quite amazing to see how far we
have come as a sanctuary. Even though we weren’t to know from one
moment to the next if we were going to be open in another month’s
time, we dug in and got on with it anyway.
As much as I tried
to rein in my co-manager, she was relentless – “unless you are doing
restoration work, this is not a sanctuary so you can’t pitch it as
such”, she would say.
And restore she did
(following the creation of a comprehensive restoration plan of
We now have a few
thousand more trees in the ground, a now famously successful
sustainability education program with Hillary Outdoors, a
purpose-built pateke pond that has spawned over 52 graduates, an
ever-expanding colony of Cook’s petrels and black petrels, a
database of over 400 individual chevron skinks, a purpose-built
rehabilitation aviary for sick, injured and orphaned birds, a world
class geographic information system (GIS) to document it all, and as
a result of all this, a thriving on-site accommodation business.
purchase of Glenfern is a starting point for a new era in
conservation on Great Barrier Island and the Hauraki Gulf.
All despite my
continual pleas to “not start any more projects until we know what’s
going to happen to the place”. But we do know what’s happening to
the place now. So it’s probably high time I filled you in.
The land known as
‘Glenfern’, the block of 80 hectares on the south side of the Kotuku
Peninsula and previously owned by the Bouzaid family, is now owned
by Auckland Council. It was purchased using funds from the Council,
the Nature Heritage Fund and Foundation North.
The land will be
designated as a regional park but it’s going so much more than that.
This deal was not simply an opportunity to secure a pond for a few
lucky ducks, and a secure habitat for seabirds and some freakishly
large lizards. The purchase of Glenfern is a starting point for a
new era in conservation on Great Barrier Island and the Hauraki
History of Glenfern under Bouzaid Ownership
compiled by Scott Sambell
(brown teal) pond.
track along ridge line and into Glenfern gully.
glasshouse/nurseries, began collecting/propagating seeds.
cats, trapping 17.
Begun construction of large pateke
Continued boardwalk and bridge to
Continued planting and
FitzRoy from Glenfern Sanctuary. Photo: Glenfern Sanctuary
botanical walkway in the forest with native trees growing on the
Glenfern Gully tracks.
signed-off bridge to kauri.
10,000 native trees.
additional nursery area.
Glenfern Gully tracks.
Name plaques on
trees in native gully and Glenfern Walk.
track to improve access for tree planting and restoration.
feral cat control.
handrails and boardwalk to specified engineering regulations.
Extended/improved quad track to minimise erosion and improve
ponds with native species.
rodent bait stations along tracks and around houses.
black petrel pair in tree along Glenfern Walk.
x 50m grid of rat bait stations, expanded to a network of 517
stations and cat traps over the peninsula from 2001 to 2004.
large pateke pond.
Environment Initiatives Award from the ARC and DOC for
contribution to the environment and promoting conservation on