The original Kererū Discovery Project was launched in 2005 as a partnership between Te Papa Tongarewa Museum of New Zealand (original coordinating partner), Wellington Zoo, Victoria University of Wellington, Zealandia (Karori Sanctuary Trust), and the Department of Conservation. These founding partners coordinated and collaborated on a number of sub-projects that all centred around these key messages:
- Backyard choices make a difference
- What’s good for kererū is good for us
- The bird in your backyard is the bird in the bush
- Kererū are valuable for themselves
- It doesn’t stop with kererū
The objective was to combine individual strengths of each organisation to provide a team that was more effective than the partners alone in order to achieve two main goals:
(1) change people’s behaviours to create an environment that ensured a sustainable future for kererū, and
(2) build a knowledge base of key information accessible to the community.
While kererū are not classified as endangered, like most New Zealand forest species, their numbers have declined dramatically as a result of habitat loss, competition and predation. All of these are a direct or indirect result of the successive waves of human arrival in New Zealand. Kererū were chosen as a focal species because:
- Although once in nationwide decline, kererū are becoming more common in New Zealand’s cities. If we can help kererū, then we can help New Zealand’s wider indigenous biodiversity.
- Kererū are a key species for the survival of New Zealand’s wider forest ecosystems which are under threat. Kererū are the only birds left that can disperse the seeds of large fruited native trees.
- Kererū are an iconic and highly visible species that many New Zealanders can easily recognize and are fond of. Getting involved with kererū will introduce many new people to conservation and community restoration. Research shows that people’s involvement in community restoration projects and wider contact with nature has many benefits, including increasing mental health and well-being, increasing connection with the community and improved physical health.
- To restore the health and diversity of Wellington’s landscapes
- To raise public awareness of the importance of kererū in the survival of New Zealand’s forests
- To enable people to take action for kererū conservation
- To enable people to improve habitat for kererū by planting appropriate species in gardens and reserves
- To enable people to increase kererū survival by carrying out local pest control
- To promote a landscape scale approach to conservation and restoration
- To increase the knowledge about kererū ecology and to use research to support project activities
- To increase the coordination of environmental groups across the region and create a focus around kererū
- To provide resources about kererū to help educate schools and communities
- To provide seed funding to support projects that meet the above goals
Have you seen a kererū?
Project Supported By:
Wellington City Council
Wellington City Council’s vision for biodiversity is to be a city that protects and restores biodiversity and proudly showcases its natural areas. It aims to be a city that is renowned for its kaitiakitanga, its environmental guardianship. Wellington City Council looks after the city’s reserves and town belts, as well as beaches and coastline. Their work includes pest weed and animal control, revegetation planting, monitoring and track maintenance. Much of this is supported by the commitments of a large number of volunteers and groups. They fund world class nature based facilites such as Otari-Wilton’s Bush, the Wellington Botanic Garden, Zealandia and the Zoo. They also provide water supply, and work to reduce the impact of stormwater and sewage disposal on the natural environment; provide recycling and waste disposal services; offer grants for environmental initiatives; and promote energy efficiency and sustainability.