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.
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?
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!).