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Birds on a Plane ..... Mohua Transfer Successful This Weekend

Sunday 6 October 2013 - By Ali Jones PR and Communications

After several postponements because of weather, the catch, capture and transfer of the endangered native bird, the möhua, has successfully taken place.

Thanks to a South Island company playing a key role in the Christchurch rebuild the native bird species möhua / yellowhead, has been given a new safe home on a Marlborough Sounds island.

Blacks Fasteners is working with the Department of Conservation by supporting the relocation (by small plane) of the endangered New Zealand birds onto the unique predator-free sanctuary of Blumine Island in the Malborough Sounds. The transfer took place yesterday and today, with 18 birds transferred on Saturday and a further 13 today, as part of ongoing efforts to save the species from extinction.


Mabel and Graeme Grennell - Te Atiawa Kaumatua release the Mohua

Above: Mabel and Graeme Grennell - Te Atiawa Kaumatua getting a surprise as they release the Mohua. CREDIT: Ali Jones PR and Communications.

The möhua were captured in the Blue Mountains in Otago by six “catching" teams and the birds were then transported by helicopter to Gore Airfield, transferred to a small plane and then flew to Picton where a boat took the birds directly to Blumine Island in the Marlborough Sounds.

The birds were accompanied on their flight by Rewi Anglem from the Hokonui Iwi who handed over the care of the möhua to members of Te Atiawa iwi from Waikawa.

Blacks Fasteners Managing Director Roger Black says it is incredibly important to him to support and conserve New Zealand’s beautiful environment.

“I’m an outdoors man, always have been. To be in a position to be able to give something back to that great outdoors is fantastic,” he says.

Roger adds that it is very appropriate that a South Island-wide company like Blacks Fasteners is supporting the transfer of such a vulnerable bird like the möhua, from the bottom of the South Island to the top.

DOC Services Manager, Roy Grose thanked Blacks Fasteners for its very valuable support in moving möhua to the Blumine Island sanctuary where it was hoped the birds would establish and thrive as a new population for the species.

“The move is important for the endangered möhua species but we are also pleased it will enable people to enjoy seeing this eye-catching yellow-headed and breasted bird in the Marlborough Sounds. We hope that as in years past, möhua will be spotted flocking and feeding with tïeke/saddleback, orange-fronted käkäriki and rifleman also on Blumine. We are extremely grateful to Blacks Fasteners for not only supporting möhua but also for supporting the development of a 2.4 km walking track on Blumine which provides for easy exploration of its lush forest and historic remains of a World War Two military base, with stunning views and an enchanting chorus of birdsong along the way.”

Mike Aviss of DOC’s Marlborough District Office, who has been organising the transfer of the möhua, says several postponements were always on the cards because of the weather.

“With air and sea travel, we are very much at the mercy of Mother Nature, but we got there this weekend and we are very pleased,” he says.

The move will enable people for the first time to see the small songbird on a Marlborough Sounds island reserve. It also brings the möhua close to where it was first painted by Captain Cook’s naturalist George Forster in 1774 at Wharehunga Bay which is just a five- minute boat trip away.

The small insect eating bird, which lives only in the forests of New Zealand's South Island, was one of the most abundant and conspicuous of our forest birds In the 1800s, but now it is the most threatened of its genus, Möhoua.

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