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Tiritiri Matangi Trip:
Synopsis of the Questionnaires
by John Ogden


THIRTY-THREE ‘respondents’ answered our questionnaires on the two trips to Tiritiri Matangi organised by the Trust in December and January. Thanks to you all! Although it was clear that most of the people on the boat had a fairly good idea of the Trust’s objectives, knowledge and support were strengthened by the experience of Tiri and by the chance to meet trustees – not to mention the bonding involved on the second return trip! Only eight of the thirty-three had visited Tiri before, which suggests that this conservation success story, although on our doorstep, is not well known on the Barrier. We encourage Barrierites to try to get there – it is well worth the effort.

There was strong agreement between the questionnaire results from the two trips. In terms of overall ‘rankings’, rats cats and rabbits are seen as the main pests on Great Barrier in that order. Pigs are not considered to be pests by some people. Knowledge of Great Barrier Island’s birds was patchy, but never-the-less they were viewed with enthusiasm by almost everyone. The bird species best known were brown teal and robin, which indicates the importance of publicity events such as the Windy Hill and Glenfern robin ‘launches’. Many people knew or assumed that poisons had been used to eliminate rats from Tiri, but only two people ticked ‘aerial poison drop’, which was the actual method used.

On the return trips it was interesting to note that the values ranked highest for Tiri were also regarded as those of potentially greatest importance on a pest-free GBI (bird life, vegetation restoration and saving endangered species). Tourism and ‘international significance’ were not ranked highly. Both boat trips gave similar rankings in this regard, which suggest that the economic aspects of a rat-free Great Barrier are not fully appreciated, or that they are seen as secondary to the more immediate improvement in bird life. Our guides may not have stressed the importance of the eradication of rats for the success of Tiri, instead emphasising community involvement in tree-planting. However, maybe there is some resistance to the idea of ‘eco-tourism’ on Great Barrier?

The open-ended comments were generally very positive. Improved relationships between D.o.C and the public, improved access to the bush and coast via walkways and guided tours, were mentioned as possible potential outcomes for a pest-free GBI. Improved bird life and vegetation, and the possibility of introducing endangered species were also mentioned. ‘Controlled’ tourism was mentioned (no tourist vehicles on the Island!).