New Zealand Conservation at Ulva Island A Place To Visit In New Zealand

by Mark Perkins

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I have only visited Stewart Island once and that was in September 2010. Although it was an overcast day I was very excited about visiting this part of the country, to see New Zealand Conservation first hand and the department of conservation (DOC) program.

A Maori (Maori the indigenous people of New Zealand), legend

says that Stewart Island is the anchor of the waka (canoe), the South Island, that Maui was sailing in when he fished up the mighty fish know today as the North Island of New Zealand.

My visit was as part of one of the tours I drive for. My passengers had a choice of trips they could take at Stewart Island, they could either tour the island or take another cruise around part of Stewart Island and some of it’s contributing islands of which Ulva Island is one.

I like a number of others choose the Paternson inlet cruise. This was Stewart Island New Zealandfantastic, our guide and skipper took us through a number of bays around the coast of Stewart Island, we also visited some of the smaller islands, learning about the early history of the area, the timber and whaling trade. One of the many highlights was seeing an Albatross up close and personal as it circled our vessel. Our cruise culminated with a tour of Ulva Island, a department of conservation sanctuary.

The department of conservation are very finicky about who and what they allow into these sanctuaries. We were given a briefing about how to prepare ourselves, checking footwear and clothing for any seeds or other items that may cause a threat to the environment. Once we landed we were treated to some awesome sights and experiences. For instance only a few metres into the island we came across a flock of Weka’s, a flightless New Zealand native bird.

They were just running around within a metre or so of us and totally uninhibited by our presence. A little further on our guide managed to attract

conservation in new zealand

Our guide also pointed out a number of the native plants and trees we have here in New Zealand. I found this so interesting, as I could use this information in my tour commentaries.

New Zealand originally had no natural predators, snakes or mammals (except a couple of species of bats). A number of our native birds were and still are, flightless. Along with the introduction of humans also came rats, dogs and other animals that attacked the eggs and chicks of the native birds. This has led to the decimation of many of our native birds. DOC is working hard to set up these sanctuaries as part of the New Zealand Conservation program. They are having a lot of success. The latest bad news for Ulva Island is that they have recently found evidence of rats back on the island. So we are all hoping they can control this latest outbreak.

If you have the opportunity to go to Ulva Island DO NOT pass it up. One word of caution, the Foveaux Strait can be quite rough at times… A flight there may be the best option if you are prone to travel sickness

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Nick February 17, 2011 at 10:40 am

Hi there, just wanted to point out that bird you saw on Ulva would have been a South Island robin, not a black robin. Black robins are native only to the Chatham Islands, the link you’ve posted within the text explains this!

Cheers
Nick

Mark Perkins February 20, 2011 at 9:55 pm

Nick,

Thank you for your comment and information. I have made the appropiate changes. Please feel free to add comments as and when you feel necessary.

Mark

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