Singing for re­turn of kokako

Cambridge Edition - - OUT & ABOUT - SARAH THOM­SON

Dame Malv­ina Ma­jor and sev­eral Waikato ris­ing stars put on a song-filled evening for kokako en­thu­si­asts, rais­ing over $7000 to help re­turn the na­tive song­bird to Mt Piron­gia.

The fundrais­ing event on March 5, or­gan­ised by Piron­gia Te Aroaro o Kahu Restora­tion So­ci­ety, and hosted by Vi­la­grad Win­ery, in­cluded mu­si­cal per­for­mances, din­ner and a char­ity auc­tion, with all pro­ceeds go­ing to­wards the translo­ca­tion of the Kokako to Mt Piron­gia.

So­ci­ety chair­woman Clare St Pierre said she was de­lighted with the suc­cess of the event and the gen­eros­ity of the com­mu­nity.

‘‘We were blown away by the way peo­ple are com­ing to­gether to sup­port our cause. This evening has been a fan­tas­tic start to fund what has been at the heart of our group from the start - to bring the kokako call back to our maunga.’’

Per­form­ers in­cluded Waika­to­based so­prano singers Chelsea Dol­man and Ce­cily Shaw and vi­olin player Rachel Twyman.

Dame Malv­ina Ma­jor, the na­tional am­bas­sador for the kokako, sur­prised guests by ac­com­pa­ny­ing her stu­dents on stage to sing the clos­ing song Pokarekare Ana.

Var­i­ous do­nated items were auc­tioned in­clud­ing na­tive bird themed art and the once-ina-life­time chance to re­lease a kokako onto Piron­gia Moun­tain, which even­tu­ally went for $500.

The funds are be­ing raised to pay for a pro­fes­sional ecol­o­gist to over­see the cap­ture, re­lease and mon­i­tor­ing of 40 kokako over the next three years. The first re­lease is ex­pected in April.

The preda­tor con­trol work, which has made the translo­ca­tion of the en­dan­gered song­bird to Mt Piron­gia pos­si­ble, is car­ried out by ded­i­cated vol­un­teers from the com­mu­nity.

Dr Te Taka Kee­gan, a sup­porter of the project, spoke of the spir­i­tual sig­nif­i­cance of hear­ing the kokako on Mt Piron­gia again.

He said some of the re­turn­ing birds would be di­rect de­scen­dants of those orig­i­nal manu re­lo­cated from Mt Piron­gia to is­land sanc­tu­ar­ies in the 1990s (an ef­fort to safe­guard their DNA).

The Piron­gia Te Aroaro o Kahu Restora­tion So­ci­ety started work to re-es­tab­lish kokako on Mt Piron­gia in 2006, and has been re­duc­ing the num­ber of preda­tors in prepa­ra­tion for its re­turn.

The Waipa King Coun­try Trust is re­spon­si­ble for the de­liv­ery of the Life Ed­u­ca­tion Trust mes­sage to pri­mary and in­ter­me­di­ate school chil­dren at Te Awa­mutu, Cam­bridge, Otoro­hanga and Te Kuiti and all schools in be­tween.

There are about 70 schools in its re­gion and its ed­u­ca­tor Nicky Wise sees about 6500 chil­dren each year in the state of the art, pur­pose-built class­room that trav­els to each school.

Any­one who would like to see what is in­volved and who may pos­si­bly be in­ter­ested in sup­port­ing the work of the trust is most wel­come to at­tend the AGM at 5.30pm, March 22 at the of­fices of Gyde Wans­bone (Ac­coun­tants) 195 Ma­hoe St, Te Awa­mutu.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.