Home' Whangarei Leader : June 26th 2012 Contents 8 WHANGAREI LEADER, JUNE 26, 2012
Phone: 09 438 1457
P O Box 10187
When Robyn and I first started the
Northpower Native Bird Recovery Centre,
one very important decision we had to make
was speaking for the birds. This was at the top
of the list.
So when I read a recent article about a new
effort by the Northland Conservation Board
to help our native pigeon (Kukupa or Kereru),
we decided to put something in this column
We can understand educating the Schools
and Te Kohanga Reo but as for teaching the
local Iwi about how important the endemic
native pigeon is -- well it came as a shock
For those that don't know what endemic native
birds means, the word endemic in our bird
world means you will only find them in New
Zealand and they were here before humans!
In the early days, they were part of the Iwi
food chain along with many other animals
and plants. And back then, the pigeons were
around in big numbers. There were no shops
or corner store so you had to live off the land.
Over the years, many things have changed,
some for the better. I can understand why Iwi
and Europeans take a dim view when the likes
of shellfish are removed from the shores in
big numbers and well undersized.
Local Iwi realised that if something was not
done everyone would miss out, and in their
way, started making changes many years ago.
When I talk with some of the Elders they
would say that they could see where it would
Kukupa were here long before anyone and I
don't think it's right for them to be hunted by
people in these modern times. The shellfish
mentality should apply.
Many of the native trees that you see in the
forests are the result of the Kukupa sowing
seeds as they feed from the fruit. No one
went around planting these trees, so if we do
something about this hunting problem then
there should be native pigeons around for our
grandchildren's children to see and admire.
We shouldn't have to make or change the law
to protect our native birds. We just all need
to work together. Is that really a lot to ask?
On the funny side, about ten years ago I
was talking to a group of six-year-old school
children at the Centre and the subject they
were learning about was the Kukupa. I had a
very tame one standing on my arm while we
were talking and one little boy kept putting his
hand up. You could see he was bursting to tell
I thought I better ask him what he wanted to
say. He stood up and as proud as could be,
said: "my dad has six of those Kukupa in our
fridge at home".
I thought about this while he was talking and
when he sat down I suggested his dad to give
me a call so I could find out how he cooks
them. I never got that call.
-Robert and Robyn Webb
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