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Sunday, 08 October 2017 12:11

President's Annual Report August 2017

Written by John Cheyne
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It gives me great pleasure in presenting my annual report for 2016-17. While it may seem that we have had a quiet year DUNZ and its wetland conservation arm, Wetland Care NZ, has continued to support a number of very worthwhile projects.

Work at Wairio wetland on the edge of Wairarapa Moana continues with useful on-going research on a variety of wetland matters by Victoria University and their students. Further planting of wetland species has been completed and some additional work carried out on the bunds retaining the water within the wetland. The numbers and diversity of wetland bird species using the area is outstanding. Water levels go up and down over the year, depending on rainfall and inflow from the main lake, and this creates an excellent variety of habitat types. In mid-late summer when extensive shallow mud flats are exposed the wetland supports several hundred pied stilts, while in winter stilts are largely absent but replaced by several hundred waterfowl (black swan, shoveler duck, grey teal and mallard) along with numerous dabchick. During a recent visit by Ross Cottle, DU NZ Chairman and a sponsor they saw three bittern which is a real plus.

While the number of applications for wetland development assistance has dropped off our Wetland Care NZ arm has continued to provide advice and financial assistance where ever possible.

DU continued to support the nationally important bittern research and monitoring programme based at Lake Whatuma by providing funding for the purchase of the ever so important radio transmitters. Some of these have also been used on bittern captured and released elsewhere. This project has been led by Dr Emma Williams. Monitoring of the existing marked birds and possible capture of females and chicks at Lake Whatuma is important and DU NZ has committed to continue supporting this project to allow this important work to be completed.

A significant part of the above projects is supported by our sponsors and landowners and for that we are extremely grateful. We are also fortunate to work in partnership with Greater Wellington Council and the Department of Conservation. Sincerest thanks to you all.

Your Board are very interested in having someone compile the history of DU NZ but unfortunately it has been difficult to find a suitable person with the time available to complete this work. Board members will continue to follow up on this project.

While we are a relatively small organisation, we have been an effective one. Our achievements over the last 30 years are worth restating to remind each of us what projects we have initiated and supported.

  • Grey teal – nest boxes
  • Pateke (brown teal) – captive breeding, liberation, field research
  • Whio (blue duck) – captive breeding, liberation, field research
  • White swan – captive breeding
  • Bittern (matuku) – field research and monitoring
  • Wetland enhancement – Wairio wetland and over 50 other sites.
  • NZ Game Bird Habitat Stamp wetland fund – a founding supporter and member
  • Education and public awareness – publication of our Flight magazine and Quack Club

Even a small organisation like DU cannot operate without the important contribution of our Secretary, Flight Editor, Web Site Manager and Board of Directors. Thank you to you all.

John Cheyne


Read 1193 times Last modified on Tuesday, 31 October 2017 13:28

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