As part of an Off-Island Youth Trip, I had the privilege to go to Tiritiri Matangi and three other noteworthy places, Snowplanet, Goat Island Marine Reserve and Waiwera Hot Pools. Let’s start with ‘bird watching’ and Tiritiri Matangi Island. Unlike many other islands in the Hauraki Gulf, Tiritiri is an open wildlife sanctuary. Volunteers and private sponsors have reshaped a once almost completely farmed island to a eco-destination for people who like to watch birds and hiking through the vast network of tracks amongst endemic trees and plants. This island is of course also special to researchers.
You can tell by the fact that I forgot to take my camera to Tiritiri how keen I am on birdwatching. I really liked that this Island is an open sanctuary and that it is fully ‘operated’ and funded by volunteers. It just shows that private people can create a sanctuary for wildlife and keep it open to all people. It doesn’t have to be DOC and taxpayers money…
I saw some cool birds like Kokako, Takehe, Hihi and others I already forgot the names of. I noticed that in terms of bush and endemic plants my property has way more to offer than Tiritiri. We also learned that there are only very few Kereru and no migrant Kaka. The featured image of this article depicts a Kaka, as seen most days here on BENIsLAND.
I made two suggestions to our great guide (and volunteer):
- if you want Kereru just plant plum trees
- how about a joint venture, you send me tourists to BENIsLAND and I’ll bring you Kaka
Two more things about birds before carrying on. I recall sitting at camp in Harataonga and visiting friends asking me: “Hey, am I just observing the most endangered birds on the Barrier all in one spot? Isn’t that a Kaka, next to a Kereru and heaps of Pateke running around?”
Last but not least, why not combine your pastime of birdwatching with an adventure on the Barrier? The so-called Lovebirds 2014 (an Auckland Council event) is happening in a couple of weeks.
Waiwere Hot Pools. Well, they call themselves something with resort and spa. I was there 10 years ago and the only thing that has changed is that they charge you to store your valuables. I don’t know, so glad that we have our very own thermal hot pools on the Barrier, all natural and well, clean.
Another underhanded thing these guys do, is selling water, which makes you think twice. a) it explains why there were no drinking fountains anywhere on the complex and b): What comes to mind about drinking-water coming from an area famous for thermal pools? Yes, you guessed it, dirty water, that needs to be filtered. I might be wrong though, according to the label it’s one of the best in New Zealand and the world.
Then again it seems that everything in New Zealand is the best, the only or at the very least the biggest in the southern hemisphere.
Goat Island Marine Rerserve. Great place to snorkel and dive, I enjoyed our glass-bottom boat ride, but I see more fish and shell fish when land-based fishing here on the Barrier. We also learned that it is you and me who diminish the fish stocks. The people in charge, the government, should create more Marine Reserves so you and me cannot destroy the marine life.
As important as ecological sustainability should be for private people, we shall not forget that it is commercial fishing, off-shore drilling and all the rest that the government gladly concedes to private corporations for economic sustainability that creates the necessity for Marine Reserves in the first place.
I leave you with another picture of a Kaka and two of a lizard/skink I haven’t seen before. It was hiding under a piece of cloth which is usually on my quad.