It is hard to believe that a third of the world’s seabirds call New Zealand home. Still, their nesting habitats are vulnerable to introduced predators. The Karioi Project is a community initiative based in Raglan working to protect our biodiversity and conserve our local ecosystems.
After being tasked with coming up with an article, I thought it would be socially responsible to highlight what they are doing. The project takes a holistic approach to inspire the community into taking action to protect local species and ecosystems through wildlife monitoring, predator control, and educating the local community at various levels. Several programmes run by the project enable members of the community of all ages to actively participate.
Working alongside scientists, environmental professionals and community experts, these programmes help young kids to seasoned community members cultivate numerous concepts and skills based on kaitiakitanga. The Karioi Kids, Ranger, and Manaaki Ao programmes help the community to learn about ecological sustainability, biodiversity and interdependence, innovation, leadership, and ecology.
In the last 10 years, the hard work of the Karioi Project’s volunteers has seen over 14,000 predators removed from 2,300 hectares of land, over 100km of trap lines being set, and 2,048 traps being checked fortnightly. Their efforts have also managed to help save two of the remaining species that call Karioi their home; the Ōi or Grey-faced Petrel and the Little Blue Penguin. Between 2017 and 2021, the protection of their nesting burrows has seen the population of Ōi has begun to recover, with over 30 chicks successfully fledging. Numerous other species in the surrounding ecosystems have also shared the benefits of the organisation’s work.
Recently, the Karioi Project has teamed up with internationally renowned powerhouse Patagonia to produce a film, “Karioi”, which showcases the vital work they are doing. The film has been touring with the Aotearoa Surf Film Festival. With a public release date to be determined, I’d suggest keeping an eye out!
There are plenty of ways you can help too! You can sponsor a burrow, or the project is always looking for volunteers, so get involved if you’re interested and check them out for more information. Just remember, at one point, we were all leaving the nest too.