Unfortunately, due to the risks and uncertainties created by Covid-19, the Napier branch in consultation with National Office have decided to postpone the 2020 gathering until next year.
We understand that this will be disappointing. However, working through the practicalities of complying with the necessary Covid-19 requirements, it became apparent that we could not fully meet Level 2 requirements at these events - in particular physical distancing requirements. We have seen how Alert Levels can change rapidly with little warning. In light of ongoing uncertainty, and being mindful of the importance of prioritising everyone’s health, we have made the difficult call to postpone to 2021.
If you have already paid for the North Island Gathering, you will be receiving a full refund – you should have already received an email from the Napier branch regarding next steps, but if not, please contact Napier.Branch@forestandbird.org.nz.
Napier branch has lined up a fantastic programme and great speakers – so we are looking forward to holding the same event sometime in 2021. The dates and times of that future event are likely to be in early November 2021, but will be announced at a later date.
Estuaries and Wetlands - Ngā wairepo me ngā whanga
The theme chosen for this year's North Island Gathering reflects the importance of these special areas for biodiversity, water quality, climate change mitigation, and flooding and storm protection.
Estuaries and wetlands are vibrant ecosystems that provide vital habitats for a rich diversity of native plants, fish, birds and other species. They are home to many of our threatened species such as the Australasian bittern/matuku and wrybill/ngutuparore, as well as important feeding grounds for migratory birds like bar-tailed godwit/kuaka.
However, estuaries and wetlands have been significantly impacted by development, surrounding land use and pest species. New Zealand has lost 90% of our natural wetlands and many of our estuary edges. The impacts of climate change, including sea level rise, now further threaten many of these areas. But both have important roles to play in helping us mitigate and adapt to climate change - for example, estuarine habitats such as mangroves, saltmarsh and seagrass can capture 4-10 times more carbon than forests!
The Napier branch has been involved in protection and restoration of local estuaries and wetlands for many decades.
A great programme of speakers and workshops centered around the theme, as well as opportunities to catch up with fellow Forest and Bird members is currently being developed. Expect to hear from some of the most prominent designers of wetlands in Hawke’s Bay as well as experts on the challenges of protecting the Ahuriri Estuary.
Saturday afternoon Field Trip
On Saturday afternoon, the programme will include visits to Waitangi Regional Park to view the newly developed Waikahu Wetland, as well as to the fantastic Ahuriri Estuary with its diverse birdlife. There will be some uneven walking surfaces on rough ground - please wear sturdy walking shoes and bring a drink bottle and rain jacket for the field trips. (In the event of very wet weather, an alternative programme will be held at the venue)
The dinner on Saturday night will be another opportunity to relax and catch up with others from around the North Island, as well as enjoy a great speaker. We look forward to you joining us!
The programme will finish after lunch on Sunday. However, subject to interest, there may be an option to visit Little Bush Reserve (near Puketitiri) on Sunday afternoon (private transport or by arrangement) for those who are keen.