Little Barrier Island Supporters Trust

Kakapo habitat selection on Hauturu-o-toi in relation to plant phenology

Abstract: Kakapo (Strigops habroptilus) breed only when certain gymnosperm species produce unusually abundant mast seed crops, events that can occur up to 5 years apart. Kakapo were first translocated to the offshore island refuge of Hauturu-o-toi (Little Barrier Island) in 1982. Despite the absence of known breeding triggers, several breeding attempts did occur prior to the birds’ removal in 1999. Although kakapo were reintroduced to Hauturu in 2012, the question of what triggers them to breed there remains a mystery. This paper re-examines unanalysed datasets to explore the link between kakapo habitat selection and plant phenology patterns on Hauturu during the 1990s. By comparing plant phenology with breeding attempts, we provide insights into potential breeding triggers, and the potential future of Hauturu as a sustainable refuge. We also provide an account of plant phenology patterns occurring on Hauturu. Resource selection ratios were calculated to determine habitat selection preferences using kakapo location data and a vegetation map of Hauturu. Analysis of plant phenology within preferred habitats was then undertaken to determine potential breeding triggers using a dataset of over 70 plant species collected from 1991–1995. Female kakapo that attempted to breed on Hauturu preferred Agathis australis (kauri) dominated vegetation to any other vegetation type. Phenology patterns coincided with kakapo breeding attempts, and attempted breeding years on Hauturu were years with high A. australis female cone abundance. The association between A. australis and breeding suggests that A. australis cone production could trigger kakapo breeding on Hauturu. With an increasing kakapo population and a limited number of suitable refuges, understanding the potential reproductive productivity of kakapo on Hauturu will be vital for their future management and recovery. 

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From Hauturu Expedition To Art Exhibition

Little Barrier – An Island Sanctuary

Group exhibition: Russell Jackson, Tony Ogle, Brian Strong,

Paul Woodruffe and guest artist Don Binney      

This group exhibition, featuring paintings by some of New Zealand’s best known landscape artists is the result of an ‘artists in residence’ expedition to Hauturu last November, organised by Parnell Gallery owner Sally Souness.

Artists Russell Jackson, Tony Ogle, Brian Strong and Paul Woodruffe, with special permission from the Department of Conservation, stayed on the island for three days to draw and paint the unique endangered flora and fauna which make Hauturu one of the country's most important sanctuaries.     

Guest artist, Don Binney, Patron of the Hauturu Little Barrier Island Supporters Trust, has a long association with Hauturu. He joined the group on its voyage to the island, and has contributed three fine works to the exhibition – stunning views of Hauturu from the sea.    

Other paintings depict the untouched landscape and many of the rare birds and insects that live on Hauturu and which artists would not normally have the chance to study.

"Seeing these creatures in their natural habitat is in itself pretty amazing," said Sally, "but what struck the artists was to see them in such abundance. Whole flocks of kaka and kereru tumbling around in the pohutukawa groves and literally dozens of stitchbird and saddlebacks darting through the forest.    

"There are some very unusual landscape features as well, such as the massive boulder beaches. It was a feast of material to get the artists' creative juices going."

Click Here To View a Selection of the Works