Great Barrier Island Environmental News
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So where do we go from here?
by Liz Westbrooke

NOW WE HAVE the support from our referendum we can get on with our plans. The main objectives that the Trust has for the next twelve months can be summarised as follows:

  • Prepare an Economic Feasibility Report (how the island functions now economically and how this would change if it became feral cat and rat free);

  • Carry out Baseline Bird Counts of indicator bird species i.e. count a selection of the native birds already present on the island both for knowledge now and comparison later – we will be looking for volunteers at some point this year so if you are interested in participating please register with Fenella on 09 4290 940;

  • Continue the Quarterly Newsletters (and see this newsletter for details of the Winter Programme which includes some video nights at the Currach);

  • Continue the Tiritiri Matangi Trips when weather permits and meet with as many interest groups as possible including iwi, business people, women’s groups etc—if your group would like a short presentation at one of their meetings this year, please phone Fenella on 09 4290 940 and discuss a date;

  • Undertake Research and Provide Information on the issues raised in the ‘referendum’ – almost equal votes were cast for the top four topics: birds already on the island, birds suitable for re-introduction, eco-tourism and methods of eradication.

Next year we will use the newsletter to report the results of the economic analysis back to the community. We will also then seek your endorsement via another ‘referendum’ to commission a Technical Feasibility Study (we envisage this study being done using DOC and other experts involved in successful eradications elsewhere, but with the Trust handling the communication and issues requiring resolution with the community).

As you will understand with a project of this size and nature, we are continuing to find out new facts and uncover new issues. Thus the scope continues to change slightly as time goes by. While we have done our best to describe here the next year’s activities, changes of direction may still happen.

Gt Barrier as a rat and feral cat free island is a target well worth pursuing - but it is a highly complex undertaking too so we need to take it slowly. Let’s all give it our best shot!