25 Sep 2015

Tāngata whenua urged to count kererū

6:12 pm on 25 September 2015

An environmental researcher and kaitiaki Māori is urging tāngata whenua to get counting kererū.

Photo from - Otari-Wilton's Bush 2012 Photo Competition held by WCC

Photo: WCC / Jan Kench

Forest and Bird said New Zealanders had managed to get out and count over 10,000 kererū in the first five days of the annual Great Kererū Count, but there were only three more days left for people to participate.

Conservationists will use data collected from the nation-wide citizen science project to build a picture of where kererū are found and where they are missing.

Huhana Smith said it was an important opportunity for iwi and hapū to record what they were seeing in their rohe.

Dr Smith said all biodiversity in Aotearoa was in crisis and under pressure, including the kererū.

"It's just vital for us to be active participants in that process because it's really for the future generations, it's for our kids and our mokos to be able to see flocks of kererū rather than numbers of one or two," she said.

"Iwi and hapū should be key participants in this annual count because we've been trying our darndest on our own lands, or on our own tribal farms or whatever to increase that natural integrity and then hence have feeding grounds for those kererū."

Dr Smith said a piecemeal approach to saving the environment and kererū was not enough.

"There needs to be a massive commitment from New Zealanders to get behind restoring ecosystems on a grand scale.

"We need to be applying more funds towards this. The commitment has to be really formidable. It's also the pest control, it's the different stresses. It's putting a lot of targeted funds towards the stresses that impact and then the enhancement and ongoing financial support.

"It can't be done with small windows of activity, it has to be definitely consolidated long-term activity to return the integrity that we need to stabilise numbers [of kererū]."

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