Popular Whangārei beaches are located within the Tutukaka High Value Area, which stretches from the northern side of the Ngunguru River, up the coast to Whananaki South, and inland to Kaiatea Road. Tutukaka Land Care (TLC) was established in 2003 with the aim of protecting and enhancing the residual population of North Island brown kiwi found in the coastal forest stretching from Ngunguru to Sandy Bay.
Ecological values – what are we trying to protect/restore?
The area supports extensive coastal pohutukawa forest and large areas of privately-owned native forest and wetlands. These provide habitat for many iconic species, including kiwi and pāteke (brown teal), and several rare and endangered native plants, while the coastal margins provided nesting habitat for endangered seabirds, such as oi (grey-faced petrels) and red-billed gulls.
Biodiversity threats within the area include stoats, feral cats, uncontrolled dogs, and wild pigs. Additionally, key weed threats have been identified as moth plant, wild ginger, tobacco weed, cotoneaster, and tree privet.
Progress – what’s being done?
A high-level of community engagement and more than a decade of community-led pest control has seen an increase in the population levels of several key species.
Over the last decade the area has seen kiwi populations decline, halt, and then increase significantly to the point where the community believes there are at least 500 birds present in the area, possibly many more.
Tutukaka Landcare has reintroduced the native brown teal (pāteke), the fourth most endangered duck in the world. Since 2007, 186 captive bred birds have been released, and are now successfully breeding right round the district.
Tutukaka Landcare with support from Backyard Kiwi, regularly releases kiwi within the Tutukaka High Value Area, which provides an opportunity for locals to see kiwi in their backyard and is a critical part of engaging the community to protect kiwi and pāteke.
Kiwi Releases - Seven kiwi have been released and monitored as part of the Kiwi Coast project during the last two years.
Since 2014, more than 7,000 pests have been trapped:
- 10 mice
- 569 hedgehogs
- 1,887 possums
- 82 rabbits
- 4,107 rats
- 181 stoats
- 137 weasels
- 57 cats
- 4 others
Support of Northland Regional Council
The Tutukaka community has worked with the regional council since 2012, with the council supporting the wider community through Community Pest Control Areas and Environment Fund projects. Council provides funding to Tutukaka Landcare.