Woodside in cooperation with the Rakiura Titi Island Administration Body (RTIAB), who administer over 18 islands around New Zealand's third largest island Stewart Island/Rakiura, is proud to support the transfer of the endangered New Zealand snipe to islands off the country's south-west coast.
The reintroduction of the New Zealand snipe, also known as the Tutukiwi, to the islands off Stewart Island is part of an ongoing joint initiative between the RTIAB and the Department of Conservation (DOC) to reintroduce native species to the Titi Islands, strengthening island biodiversity and ensuring the long-term survival of this unique species.
A previous transfer in 2005 by the RTIAB and DOC, the first for this species, saw 30 snipe from the Snares Islands moved to Putauhinu Island. This laid the foundations for the recent and upcoming transfers to Kundy and Mokonui Islands to occur. Woodside's first involvement with this initiative was the successful transfer of 18 snipe in 2015.
The significance of this project extends past establishing a population of threatened bird on the Titi Islands. The cultural significance of the snipe is linked to the Maori legend of the Hakuwai, a large, mythical bird said to abode in the sky, never seen on Earth but occasionally heard during the night. The male snipe was found to be the source of this impressive sound as their tail feathers vibrate violently as they dive down during their courtship flight, emitting a disproportionately large sound. Reintroducing this bird restores an important part of local Maori mythology and cultural connection to the whanau (family) which visit these islands annually to harvest titi (the young of the sooty shearwater).
Woodside operates the offshore Petroleum Exploration Permit 55794 in the Great South Basin off New Zealand's south-west coast, and our support for this project is part of building and maintaining strong relationships with the local communities in which we work in. Woodside is also supporting an additional transfer planned to take place in November 2017 which will see the transfer of snipe from the Snares to Kundy Island to increase the genetic diversity of the population.
For information on Kaitiakitanga - caring for Tutukiwi, please visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NRejBZ7srzo&feature=youtu.be
Image courtesy of Peter McClelland.