Waikato Regional Council has today welcomed Hamilton City Council as a partner in the popular Hamilton Halo project, which has been carrying out pest control to increase the number of tui and other native birds visiting and living in the city.
Under a new memorandum of understanding signed today between the two councils and Landcare Research, HCC has committed to working with the regional council on control of rats and possums at high value biodiversity sites around the city, such as parks and gullies.
“Over the past six years, our Hamilton Halo project has had great success in increasing the number of tui visiting the city during winter by controlling ship rats and possums at eight breeding sites just outside Hamilton,” said regional council chairperson and Hamilton councillor Paula Southgate, a long-time champion of Halo.
In the early years of Halo, less than 40 tui sightings were reported in Hamilton. Last financial year alone there were nearly 1600 and surveys indicate increasing numbers of native birds generally at the Halo breeding sites.
“Now we’re keen to encourage the tui to live and breed in Hamilton full time and promote an increase in the native bird population generally. Having Hamilton City Council help carry out this new pest control at key sites for biodiversity within the city will significantly boost our chances of doing just that. We are delighted to have the city partner with us in this next step,” said Ms Southgate.
Hamilton Mayor Julie Hardaker said the project demonstrated how councils could work together for the benefit of the environment.
“This collaborative project delivers excellent outcomes for the city in terms of the return of native birds, particularly the tui, one of New Zealand’s most recognisable bird species,” said Mayor Hardaker.
“Hamilton City Council has already supported Halo for many years, through the restoration of the city’s extensive gully network and other native bush remnants where the tui make their homes.”
Under the agreement, the regional council and Landcare Research will provide technical advice and support to the new Hamilton City and regional council pest control operations at the selected new sites, as well as continue with their involvement in control at the existing Halo sites outside Hamilton.
Landcare Research’s John Innes said that working with enthusiastic partners such as the two councils was by far the most effective way to get research results to make “a real difference in the real world”.
“The success of Halo in increasing tui around the Waikato has been a great start, and we are keen to see the same increases with bellbirds, kereru and kaka,” said Mr Innes.
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