Last century this area included coastal dune lakes and forest streams and swamps, with large stands of podocarps and flax. This supported many species of birds, and it was once the site of the ancient and now extinct Moa (the largest bird in the world). It is possible to find parts of their ancient egg shells on either the sand dunes or in the remains of the early Maori middens (rubbish heaps). Moa bones and gizzard stones have also been found on these sites.
Much of these natural wetlands were drained to develop farmland. Since 2004 the remnants are in the process of rehabilitation.
As we enter Spring, the annual planting at Tahi has finished. Approximately 25,000 plants have been planted. This season much of the focus has been placed on two of the newest redeveloped wetlands which cover an area of approximately four and a half hectares and include an ancient stand of Kahikatea (New Zealand’s tallest tree). This development offers a wide diversity of habitat and has had a dramatic effect on both the resident and transient bird populations, and as a bonus frogs have set up residence.
Time spent in the newly constructed bird observation point over one of these wetlands, allows unobtrusive viewing of some of the sixty bird species that have been recorded on Tahi; of these twenty are threatened species.
These new wetlands are in addition to the existing twelve wetland and pond habitats that have been restored at Tahi. They are part of our ongoing conservation ethos - to enhance and protect the natural ecosystems and biodiversity and to provide corridors of natural habitat. These ecological services combined with our pest control programme now extend beyond the reteat’s boundaries to an area of 800 hectares.
Our plants are eco-sourced (grown from seed collected in the area) so this stage in regeneration is an important milestone in the rehabilitation of the ecosystem.
Tahi is managed by two qualified ornithologists who are available to guide those who prefer some assistance in bird identification, or who wish to see nests and interpret behavior – i.e. territorial disputes or feeding habits.