In praise of Kiwi volunteers
Why would A Rocha volunteers strap 8, 16 or 24 kilo packs to their backs as they prepare for a short hike up a steep, muddy mountain track?
Chris Naylor, Executive Director of A Rocha International, discovered the answer when he joined the A Rocha North Island Hui (gathering) on a clear, sunny afternoon in October. The volunteers were part of a major deployment of 300 predator traps, set at 100 m intervals, along specially cut tracks on the seaward side of Mt Karioi, near Raglan. A Rocha Aotearoa New Zealand leads a concerted community effort to protect the last Grey-faced Petrels Pterodroma gouldi breeding on the Karioi coastline. The bird’s biggest threat, and the reason they are now mainly restricted to offshore Islands, is predation from introduced stoats, rats and possums that have hit native birds so very hard.
The sheer hard work of carrying traps (which each weigh 8 kg) up the mountain is a graphic reminder of the dedication of A Rocha volunteers all around the world as they protect wildlife against the odds.