Karioi seabirds, New Zealand:

from the mountain to the sea

Restoring biodiversity from the mountain to the sea in New Zealand

In Waikato, New Zealand, A Rocha has been working with the community since 2009 to re-establish Mount Karioi for seabirds like the Grey-faced Petrel, or ‘Ōi’.

Just 200 years ago, seabirds filled the coastal forests. Every year thousands flocked to our coastline to raise their chicks in what was known as the Seabird Capital of the World.

Until recently the last remnant species of seabird on Mount Karioi, the Ōi Pterodroma gouldi (or Grey-faced petrel), was struggling to breed. Now due to the hard work of our team we have chicks once again successfully fledging! The conservation work is focused on the mountain and its surrounding coastline, wetlands and beaches.

Due to extensive predator control and seabird monitoring, we’re now seeing Little Blue Penguins Eudyptula minor waddling down the beach and Ōi successfully breeding in burrows along the coast.

In just 10 years the project has seen:

  • Over 14,000 predators removed by our amazing volunteers from 2,300 ha of land.
  • Over 100 kms of trap lines and 2,048 traps checked fortnightly by volunteers – achieving incredible conservation gains for our wildlife!
  • Seabird burrows protected, with 30 Ōi chicks successfully fledged in the last four years!
Grey-faced petrel (JJ Harrison)

Young people getting involved in environmental education

The Karioi Project inspires the amazing Raglan community to take a stand for nature, turn the tide on biodiversity loss and successfully re-wild our corner of the world. A Rocha’s education programme enables young people aged 6-18 to build survival huts in the bush, trap predators that threaten New Zealand’s incredible native wildlife and start fires with flint and steel. At low tide, they talk about the sea-stars and crabs who live in the salty pools at the world-famous surf spots in Raglan.

Learning skills and changing cultures

Through hands-on activities and games, A Rocha New Zealand helps kids become familiar and comfortable with a variety of ecosystems and skills. They learn about the role of the dunes in preventing erosion. They might then encourage friends, family, and even strangers not to walk through this fragile habitat. They often develop an appreciation and love for a variety of habitats and want to look after them. Older students learn more practical conservation skills such as predator control and monitoring, mapping with GPS and navigating with a compass. They meet kite flyers, kayak instructors, ecologists and surfers. They see ecosystems from a different perspective. Many students come back term after term for the changing activities and growing friendships. By learning and playing together, the students develop confidence. They learn new skills and expand their curiosity while engaging with the natural world. They develop their resilience to face whatever comes.
Mt Karioi (Matt Brandon)

In recent years the project has seen:

  • Three successful environmental education programmes enjoyed by 500+ local students and their families.
  • 350+ volunteers clocking over 35,000 volunteer hours
  • 174 local households doing predator control on their own property – aiming for Predator Free Raglan.

More details on this project can be found on the Karioi Project website and the Karioi Project Facebook page

Read more about A Rocha New Zealand’s work

Other international environmental education projects

Read more about A Rocha’s international marine work

Donate to New Zealand Kairoi environmental education

Visit the A Rocha New Zealand/Aotearoa website.

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