When Tara Iti officially opened its doors on October 1, endangered shore birds outnumbered golfers by nearly 10:1, a fact that delighted club founders and the local conservation establishment.
Upon acquiring the property, club founders established the Te Arai and Mangawhai Shorebirds Trust to conserve and protect fairy terns in addition to other at-risk shorebirds on the Mangawhai Wildlife and the Mangawhai Marginal Strip. As well as sourcing and providing funds necessary to the preservation, protection and fostering of these shorebirds, the trust is charged with actively promoting growth in the number of threatened shorebirds.
Thirty-seven fairy terns were assessed on the property at the beginning of the 2014-15 season and that figure has grown to an estimated 40.
Tara Iti’s general manager Matt Guzik said the golf club and other contributors fund all Shorebird Trust efforts. In April 2016 the club will host the first of what will be an annual golf tournament to benefit the trust, thereby spreading yearlong financial support among the club, its members, Northland golfers and conservationists alike.
“The partnerships we’ve created here aren’t just with the golf club, or with Te Uri o Hau,” Guzik said, referring to the local Maori iwi or tribe in the Northland region. “We meet with all the conservation organisations in the area. Our club staff assists in trapping and monitoring. It’s been a real team effort, and everyone is so pleased with the progress: in bird counts, in opening the club, in creating something truly unique here.”