Bi-monthly hui

On Sunday,15 February we held our first hui for the year and a welcome from Anna Were. We were privileged to have one of our whānau members, John Heaphy come and speak to us about his job with the Department of Conservation (DoC), as conservation officer of protected species and islands.

John’s whakapapa is to the Acker whānau from Stewart Island and Ōtatara. He is an interesting speaker and his passion for his work is evident whenever we have the pleasure of catching up with him.

John’s mahi with endangered wildlife and plants has him working on a wide range of different species including kōkako, kiwi, New Zealand dotterel, pateke, native bats, tuatara, various lizard species, insects and freshwater native fish, and in the last year he was also involved in four whale strandings.

Locally, he is heavily involved with the ecological restoration of Tūhua (Mayor Island). Many of us remember the orange fronted kākāriki transfers, which he organised and undertook in conjunction with Ngāi Tahu. Late last year, he arranged a pōpokatea (whitehead) transfer from the Ngāti Whare rohe of Whirinaki out to Tūhua.

There have been numerous transfers of native species that John has been involved with over his long career with DoC, that were fascinating to hear about and the Powerpoint presentation he gave added another dimension to his talk.

One of John’s new projects involves the pepeketua or native frog. We are fortunate (or not) that the rarest native frog in New Zealand is found near Te Puke with a population of around only 200. DoC recently set up a joint iwi and community project to look after them.

It was a great afternoon, which was finished with a catch up over a cuppa. The next hui, which will also be our annual general meeting will be held on Sunday, 19 April at Tauranga Boys’ College wharenui at 1pm – all are welcome.

From left, Catherine Giblin, John Heaphy and Anna Were at the first bi-monthly hui for the year.

From left, Catherine Giblin, John Heaphy and Anna Were at the first bi-monthly hui for the year.