Post boxes get new res­i­dents

Sunday News - - FRONT PAGE - RACHAEL COMER

A woman with a spe­cial in­ter­est in lit­tle blue pen­guins is re­pur­pos­ing old Kiwi post boxes and cre­at­ing nests.

Postie Lor­raine Adams thought of the idea years ago when she saw a for­mer New Zealand Post street box that was des­tined for the chop­ping block as an op­por­tu­nity to help the small birds at the Oa­maru Creek Pen­guin Re­serve. Since then she has col­lected about 30 from through­out New Zealand, and used them as nest­ing boxes.

The pen­guins are a pop­u­lar tourist at­trac­tion in the North Otago town of Oa­maru. The world’s small­est pen­guins be­gan nest­ing in a rock quarry at the edge of Oa­maru Har­bour dur­ing the early 1990s and since then the pop­u­la­tion has swelled.

Adams asked her brother to cut the boxes in half, and the post box nest project flowed on JOHN BISSET/STUFF from there. ‘‘The boxes were go­ing to be de­stroyed as they were boxes that were dam­aged.’’

She said the boxes were per­fect for the lit­tle birds be­cause they were weath­er­proof and pro­vided a cosy space to nest. It was im­por­tant to look af­ter the pen­guins as a trea­sure of the New Zealand coast, she said. There is a high mor­tal­ity rate for young birds but if they sur­vive their first 12 months, they can live for up to 25 years.

Sun­dayNews caught up with Adams last week when she was at the re­serve check­ing the boxes fol­low­ing re­cent wet weather that lashed the coun­try. The boxes, and the birds, had fared well, she said.

Lor­raine Adams has re­pur­posed old post boxes as nest­ing boxes.

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