Hauturu the protector
Hauturu’s preservation as a nature reserve, its relative isolation, lush forest and high biodiversity meant that for many years it was one of the few safe havens for our threatened native species, despite the presence of two introduced mammalian pests (kiore or Polynesian rat and cats). The island was declared pest free in 2004. As far back as 1903 kiwi and kakapo were taken to the island for safety. In 1913 rare white kiwi were taken to Hauturu from the Taupo region and great spotted kiwi from the Nelson area in 1915. It would appear that the latter did not survive the rats or cats. In the 1980s, after cats had been eradicated from the island by the Wildlife Service, there were over eleven records of other species being taken to Hauturu for protection: kokako, kakapo, saddleback and black petrel.
Not only has Hauturu been a haven for threatened species but it has also been the source population for the translocation of many species to new homes not just within the Hauraki Gulf but also throughout NZ.
To translocate means to move something from one place to another. Translocations of different species of plant or animal have been/are carried out for a number of reasons. These include:
• Assisting in the survival of a species by the establishment of a detached population, or by complete removal to a safer site.
• Aiding the restoration of biodiversity in an area.
• For advocacy purposes to aid in a species recovery by presenting a higher public profile.
• Improving the genetic diversity of a population.
• Balancing sex ratios within a population.
Hauturu the provider
Since the 1980s, some 65 translocations of 14 different species have taken place from Hauturu. This translates to some 2450 individuals. Many of these have occurred in the Hauraki Gulf region; whitehead and stitchbirds (hihi) to Tiritiri Matangi, kakariki to Motuihe and Tawharanui, Pacific gecko and wetapunga to Motuora, saddleback (tieke) and whitehead (popokotea) to Rangitoto and Motutapu to name but a few. Further afield there have been translocations of North Island brown kiwi to the Rimutakas and Pukaha/Mt Bruce, Cooks petrel to Hawkes Bay, stitchbirds to Kapiti and saddleback and whiteheads to Taranaki.
This year there have been three different translocations from Hauturu with 106 Cook’s petrel fledglings being transferred to Boundary Stream in the Hawkes Bay. Sixty whitehead have been moved to the Bay of Islands with Project Island Song and most recently 12 wetapunga have been taken to Auckland Zoo to improve the genetic diversity within their breeding programme, which has seen the release of wetapunga, one of the world’s largest insects, on a number of islands around the Hauraki Gulf.
The Little Barrier Island (Hauturu) Supporters’ Trust has a small role to play in the decision-making regarding requests for species alongside the Department of Conservation and iwi. The Trust has a panel of scientific advisors whose knowledge and expertise is available to assess such requests. On a number of occasions some Trust supporters have been able to assist on the island with translocations.