Built around 8.5 hectares of lush trees and shrubs, Pacific Heights Orewa makes an ideal playground for native birds. There’s a fresh, flowing stream, large watercourses, and plenty of fruit and flowers. Tui, fantails, kereru, and waxeye visit frequently, and there’s even rumours of saddleback making an appearance.
With Hibiscus Coast Forest & Bird’s ‘Pest Free Peninsula’ programme going from strength to strength, it seems the dawn chorus will keep getting louder. Aiming to eliminate wild pests such as rats, possums and stoats, the programme began four and a half years ago in hopes of allowing native wildlife in the area to flourish. Focusing on council-owned land, parks and reserves were heavily targeted – including Orewa Estuary.
In early September, the 1000th trap was placed – a huge milestone marking a sustained effort by many. More than 90 volunteers have been involved so far, with local communities encouraged to play a part in keeping their own green spaces a safe haven.
With saddlebacks reintroduced to Shakespear Park in May, these conservation efforts are more crucial than ever. Once widespread across the North Island, saddlebacks were wiped out on the mainland by introduced predators – at one point, the species was restricted to a single offshore island. Distinctive, beautiful and renowned for their infectious chatter, it’s hoped the peninsula’s latest residents will settle into their new home with ease.
Life at Pacific Heights Orewa offers the essence of the Kiwi Dream – and it’s pretty special to see it returning to the trees, shores and skies.
What: The Pest Free Peninsula Programme
Where: Silverdale, Orewa and Whangaparaoa reserves, parks, communities and green spaces.
How:Anybody who wishes to be involved can contact Hibiscus Coast Forest & Bird.<link to https://www.forestandbird.org.nz/branches/hibiscus-coast>