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News in Brief from Motu Kaikoura Trust

 

The Motu Kaikoura Trust recently received substantial funding from the ASB Trust and is now moving ahead on various projects, aimed at restoring the island to a natural condition. This is an exciting project for the Great Barrier Island community because it presents in miniature many of the problems faced by a larger whole-island eradication. Motu Kaikoura has rats (presumably both ship rats and kiore) and also a population of fallow deer. The status of other pests, such as cats and mice, doesn’t seem to be known. A Funding Calendar and Business Plan has been put together by Angela Gibbons, the Trust Secretary, looking ahead to the next four years. There are plans to seek further donations from various sources, including Corporate Sponsorship and Bequests. Funds to support volunteer work, especially for surveys of the island’s flora, lizards and birds are also being planned. There is urgency in this because deer shooting is poised to commence very soon, and rat eradication will follow as soon as the necessary feasibility surveys have been completed. It would be valuable to have some initial survey results before these eradications are completed.

The Motu Kaikoura Trust currently employs Will Scarlett as Operations Manager on the island. His first jobs have been to start making the accommodation weatherproof and getting equipment to the island. The Trust has a new boat and a Kawasaki Mule. The next phase is cutting tracks for the hunters, and of course the actual hunting. A plan for this has been proposed by Will and agreed to by D.o.C and local Iwi; it will employ several local people. Track cutting will have two components—short-term tracks for the hunting only, and longer-term tracks for permanent use by visitors and island-workers. An archaeological survey has been completed, so that sites of significance will not be damaged.

Agreement has been reached between the Outdoor Pursuit’s Centre (at Orama), D.o.C and the Trust over the use of the island for outdoor activities, although some details still have to be settled. A proposal by a New Zealand reality TV Company to use the island for a "castaways" type programme was not supported.

Geoff Davidson, the founder Chairperson, has recently handed over the reigns to Harry Doig and an active board of trustees, who meet monthly in Auckland. For membership and/or further information contact Angela Gibbons: angela.gibbons@ptnz.com

John Ogden