Sweet new friendship
A helping hand from Dole brings sunshine after the rain for the little island of Motutapu and its host of volunteers
Tucked away behind Auckland landmark Rangitoto Island, Motutapu is the site of one of New Zealand’s largest ecological restoration projects. Over the past two decades, Motutapu Restoration Trust volunteers have planted the island’s 100 hectares of native forest, helping to create an inviting home for some of the country’s rarest species. Threatened native birds now breed safely here a er the Department of Conservation’s removal of stoats, rats and possums.
Earlier in the year, storms brought torrential rain. Slips carved great slices from the island’s hillsides, blocking roads, tracks and damaging other infrastructure. The storm dealt a significant blow to the MRT’S conservation work and DOC was forced to close Motutapu to the public.
Happily, global fruit provider Dole has come to the rescue with a special sponsorship. This helping hand from Dole means that the Trust’s volunteers are finally in the process of geing the 2017 planting programme underway. Along with the support of DOC, the MRT is now able to continue developing habitats to achieve its long-term goal of creating sustainable populations of takahē, Coromandel brown kiwi, tieke (saddlebacks) and other threatened species.
Bre Butland, chair of Motutapu Restoration Trust, says the contribution of sponsorships such as Dole are crucial to the Trust’s operations. “The volunteer army effort must be supported by having the right equipment, site preparation and transport,” he says. The nursery, for example, is 6km from the planting site, so everything must be trucked over in readiness for a planting day.
“The Trust greatly appreciates the sponsorship of Dole
“e Trust greatly appreciates the sponsorship of Dole as it means we can spend funds on the issues of greatest importance for the restoration of the island.”
as it means we can spend funds on the issues of greatest importance for the restoration of the island.”
Dole’s support and investment in Motutapu is part of the company’s commitment to conservation and sustainability in New Zealand – and around the world. In the words of Masahiro Okafuji, president and CEO of ITOCHU Corporation (the company that owns Dole), “Businesses that simply pursue their own returns and ignore returns for society will not last.”
Now that’s an approach the Motutapu Restoration Trust thousands of volunteers can definitely appreciate.
A slice of Motutapu life. Unlike the pūkeko, takahē are endemic to New Zealand. Volunteers Liz Brooks, Steve Barton and Kamilla Camilo. The MRT plant nursery.