Environmental Initiatives at Waikaremoana
Genesis Energy recognises that it is not appropriate to simply address the effects of its operation based on resource consent and mitigation requirements and are therefore striving to create a more holistic approach to our environmental management, whilst still maintaining our commitment to the local community.
The key environmental initiative at the Waikarmoana Power Scheme is the Kiwi Restoration Project with the Lake Waikaremoana Hapu Restoration Trust.
On the 16th of May 2005 at Kuha Marae, a celebration was held to formally acknowledge the partnership between the Lake Waikaremoana Hapu Restoration Trust (LWHRT) and Genesis Energy. The LWHRT vision is:
"To facilitate and assist in the restoration and protection of the Lake Waikaremoana Catchment - this includes all waterways, lands and endangered species of flora and fauna"
Genesis Energy agreed initially to support the LWHRT for four years to assist with projects such as the kiwi restoration project on Puketukutuku Peninsula at Lake Waikaremoana. So successful has the partnership been, that on 1 July 2007, Genesis Energy increased its support out to 2017.
This partnership is an exciting opportunity for all involved with both parties taking advantage of the relationship to gain knowledge from each other.
The kiwi restoration programme on Puketukutuku Peninsula began with a research project undertaken by Dr John McLennan of Manaaki Whenua - Landcare Research Ltd, in 1992. Dr John, as he is locally known, identified that stoat predation of young kiwi was a key cause of population decline. With the help of the Department of Conservation (DoC), the Bank of New Zealand Kiwi Recovery Trust and tangata whenua, a 1200 trap kiwi predator management regime was established.
In 2002, Landcare Research wound up their kiwi research at Waikaremoana leaving DoC and the LWHRT to carry on with the management programme, although Dr John continues to remain an important advisor to the LWHRT and to the project. With their increasing knowledge and skill, and the additional support from Genesis Energy, the LWHRT were able to formally take over management of the project from DoC, under a Memorandum of Understanding, signed during a special ceremony at Kuha Marae on 28 July 2007.
Since 2004, a ‘kiwi fence’ has been established across the neck of the peninsula. This not only keeps young kiwi from wandering into untrapped areas ensuring they set up their breeding territories within the protected area, but it also helps to reduce the number of pests getting onto the heavily trapped area. Once kiwi numbers have increased to ‘carrying capacity’, the fence will be removed and each breeding season, a flood of young kiwi will disperse from the trapped area out into the vastness of Te Urewera National Park to help prop up failing kiwi populations over a large part of the Park.
The next step in the project is to replicate the Puketukutuku Peninsula management regime on the adjoining Whareama Peninsula to ultimately provide in excess of 200 pairs of breeding kiwi, on over 1,000 ha of protected kiwi forest, pumping kiwi chicks out into the wider Lake Waikaremoana catchment every year.
Monitoring the nesting attempts of many adult pairs of radio tagged kiwi; transmitter changes; checking, clearing and rebaiting miles of trap lines every week; fence building and maintenance; and keeping track on the survival of increasing numbers of juvenile kiwi; is all labour intensive work for LWHRT staff, who spend countless hours walking the bushclad hills of Waikaremoana - often at night.
Genesis Energy is extremely proud to be working with the LWHRT, both in terms of the amazing success of the kiwi project they run, and the opportunities for Waananga (knowledge sharing) to help the company’s own staff better understand tangata whenua and their environmental values. The partnership continues to help Genesis Energy better appreciate and manage the environmental and cultural issues associated with operating the Waikaremoana Power Scheme.
For other Genesis Energy community initiatives click here.