TOSSI – Changing of the guard

What better way to celebrate the summer season than to wonder at the amazing life that has exploded into being at Tāwharanui Open Sanctuary over the spring. Seabirds, shorebirds, birds in the bush and birds on the ponds are all watching over eggs or chicks, which is all very exciting. Not only that but we have an abundance of flowering natives that are helping all those little critters do their thing. The ever-growing and improving biodiverse ecosystem at the sanctuary supports more and more life that is not only intrinsic to the health of the land and water, it supports us mere mortals, too.

Talking of insects, I am going to briefly mention the biggest of the little critters. The wētāpunga release has been covered, but I wanted to add a personal note. I was one of a handful of Tossi volunteers who were privileged to help with the release. The experience was a once in a lifetime opportunity. To actually hold onto one and guide it into its new home challenged the senses, but like when overcoming any challenge, the reward was great.

Now another matter: volunteering. A staggering 21.5% of Kiwis do some kind of formal volunteering, Why? So, I thought I would turn to my fellow newbies on the committee, asking them why they do it.

Mark has taken on the weed portfolio and says, “I fell in love with everything Tāwharanui has to offer many years ago and since retiring I have time to follow my passions of native plants and constructing, by being a volunteer. It is extremely satisfying to be involved with like-minded people and share knowledge together. Being on the committee advances my personal commitment to make a difference.”

Steve has taken on the predator portfolio. “Working with a great team of people maintaining and improving the unique natural environment is a privilege. The park is a fabulous place with unspoilt coastline, walks through bush in the company of native birds and open vistas of the surrounding coast. I joined the committee to contribute to all the good work and with my personal interest in pest control, I am looking forward to helping the team continue the work to protect the native flora and fauna.”

As for me, with the communications portfolio, the sanctuary has been a place of joy, peace and exercise, one of my happy places over the years. I felt it was time I gave something back. I started turning up for Sunday in the Park, then kiwi monitoring and then the next thing I know I’m on the committee! Doing for others is my motivation. We are all different, here for different reasons, there is no formula, anyone can help. Start by coming along to the next Sunday in the Park, talk to one of us and see if there is something for you.