A Rocha is actively involved in the Karioi Project, a community-led conservation project working to restore biodiversity primarily through predator control and species monitoring at a landscape-scale together with the amazing support of the local volunteers and partners. The focus of the Karioi Project encompasses Karioi maunga and its coastal escarpments and forest, wetlands, freshwater and marine habitats and communities to the north and south of the mountain from Whāingaroa Harbour to Aotea Harbour. The project also supports the establishment of an ecological corridor between Karioi, Toreparu wetland and Pirongia.
Aotearoa New Zealand is considered the Seabird Capital of the World because of the diversity of seabirds that come to our waters (over a third of the world’s seabird species) including the highest number seabirds (36 species) that only breed here. At the same time, because of this, we also have more threatened seabird species than anywhere else in the world.
Until recently the last remnant species of seabird on Karioi maunga, the ōi (Pterodroma gouldi / Grey-faced Petrel), was struggling to breed. Ōi are a ‘taonga species’, meaning they have special cultural significance to tangata whenua. Now due to the hard work of our Karioi team and the local community volunteers, ōi chicks are once again successfully fledging from their burrows along the coast and kororā (Eudyptula minor / Little Penguins) can be seen waddling down the beach!
A third of the world’s seabirds call Aotearoa home, but their nesting habitats are under threat from introduced predators. ‘Karioi’ (2021) tells the story of the Karioi Project.
The Karioi Project also provides environmental education programmes based around the Karioi ecosystems including coastal forest, freshwater streams, marine rocky shore and inter-tidal marine ecosystems. These are offered as afterschool programmes, in-school programmes, school holiday programmes, and bespoke field-based educational packages for visiting schools.
We actively encourage the involvement of tamariki and rangatahi in the project – and we also like to include entire whānau in our activities. Working days, trap checking, monitoring, workshops, community events and camps are often inclusive of all ages.
Andrew Shepherd and Kristel van Houte discussed the Karioi Project in relation to the book chapter, ‘Restoring Karioi: Ecology, Community and the Practice of Peace’ in the book, “Pursuing Peace in Godzone: Christianity and the Peace Tradition in New Zealand”, edited by Geoffrey Troughton and Philip Fountain (Wellington: Victoria University Press, 2018), 178-193. http://presschools.org.nz/pursuingpeace/