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28.02.1996

 

Fewer weka than kiwi in North Island

Some months ago a Department of Conservation officer consulted with us for advice on keeping weka in aviaries, as a preliminary to the department's forthcoming rat eradication programme on Kapiti Island, recently announced in the news media.

Nevertheless, we were saddened to learn that many weka will lose their lives as a result of this programme, the outcome of which will no doubt result in a more hospitable environment for the weka and other birds on Kapiti Island.

The weka on Kapiti are one of the three South Island species. These are much greater in number than the North Island species, which we have been endeavouring to establish in this area.

In actual fact, there are fewer North Island weka than there are kiwi.

A recent visitor to our aviaries was Matthew Lark. He spent his time here recording various weka calls for one of the programmes in his series on National Radio, "Outwith a Lark".

This was an interesting experience for us and we look forward to hearing the results on the radio, sometime later in the year.

The weka has a vast repertoire of calls and learning their individual meanings has gone a long way towards understanding this bird.

Negotiations for an island on which to establish a new release site are proceeding.

A suitable island has been identified and now the proverbial "red tape" must be unravelled.

The present intention is that the release aviaries on our property will be used as holding aviaries before the birds are moved onto the island, and so our involvement with the programme will continue.