Naturalists' trust fund boost

27 November 2018
Franklin County News, Auckland

A trust working to protect native bird species was among 36 recipients from the Mazda Foundation's final round of funding for 2018.

Over $137,000 was gifted to communities across New Zealand, supporting people and projects in the arts, environment and individuals in need.

The Pukorokoro Miranda Naturalists' Trust, based at the Shorebird Centre on the Firth of Thames, works hard to safeguard the future of New Zealand's shorebirds, such as the long-distance record-holding bartailed godwit, the pacific golden plover and the unique New Zealand wrybill.

The New Zealand population of the pacific golden plover is in sharp decline, so the organisation received $5,000 towards the cost of 10 satellite tags to track their 22,000km annual migratory round trip from the Arctic to New Zealand and back.

Jim Eagles, project manager, said collecting data on the whereabouts of the plovers was essential in helping the trust preserve the species for generations to come.

"We've been working hard trying to figure out why their population is falling and we suspect the problem lies somewhere along their flight path.

The trouble is we don't know where in the arctic they come from or what route they take to get here."

"The tiny satellite tags will be fitted to the plovers as they roost near on the firth, giving us the ability to track their flight path as they head north to their nesting sites and later return to New Zealand.

"That will allow us to investigate where the problem is occurring and help us come up with a plan to save the species."

Each year the foundation hosts three funding rounds to help Kiwis in need, having gifted over $3.2 million back to the community since its inception in 2005.

David Hodge, chairman of the Mazda Foundation, said there was hundreds of fantastic initiatives throughout New Zealand and Mazda was proud to offer financial support to those who need it most.

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