Our new practical guide lays out how communities, iwi and hapū can restore seabirds to the mainland as more areas become predator free.
Produced by the Northern New Zealand Seabird Trust, Te Whakarauoratanga ake | Restoring resilience report covers restoration techniques, protection of seabirds, monitoring, and benefits—both for the ecosystem and people.
“New Zealanders are working hard to create safe havens for native wildlife with their predator-free efforts,” says Kerry Lukies, lead author of the report. “The bush birds are bouncing back—but let’s not forget about the seabirds too!”
New Zealand is the seabird capital of the world, with 95 species calling our land and oceans home. Many seabird species once inhabited vast tracts of the mainland, but introduced predators and habitat loss have left only remnant populations on isolated offshore islands.
Bringing seabirds back to the mainland will be a boon for healthy and resilient forests. “Seabirds are ecosystem engineers, transporting nutrients from the ocean onto land,” says Lukies. “Seabird poo is an excellent fertiliser that’s been missing from our bush for a long time.”
Establishing more seabird colonies on the mainland will also help to future-proof populations of unique species found nowhere else in the world. “Climate change is already impacting seabirds as our oceans warm and food availability shifts,” Lukies explains.
“Restoring seabirds is a powerful, proactive way we can ensure populations remain resilient—especially for those species, like the New Zealand storm petrel and Buller’s shearwater, with only a single known breeding location remaining.”
Benefits extend beyond the physical too, with social and cultural outcomes including a renewed connection to taonga species, as well as education and ecotourism opportunities.
While the report focuses on the Hauraki Gulf Tīkapa Moana region—a globally important seabird hotspot—the guidance is applicable across Aotearoa. Groups and individuals can draw inspiration from examples of ongoing seabird restoration outlined in the report, including the mana whenua-led Tū Mai Taonga project on Aotea and efforts at Tāwharanui Regional Park.
“We hope this guide inspires you to bring back the seabirds to your own rohe,” says Lukies.
A low resolution copy of the publication is available here
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