Proposed multimillion-dollar native bird sanctuary in Taranaki

A multi-million dollar native bird rehabilitation center is offered by the East Taranaki Environment Collective.

ANDY JACKSON/Stuff

A multi-million dollar native bird rehabilitation center is offered by the East Taranaki Environment Collective.

Plans for a multi-million dollar native bird rehabilitation and interpretation center in Inglewood have been revealed by the conservation organization behind the project.

The details were outlined by the East Taranaki Environment Collective (ETEC) – formerly known as Experience Purangi – at a New Plymouth District Council Strategy and Operations Committee meeting last week.

The project involves the construction of a purpose-built rehabilitation centre, which would be shared with area vets as well as the district council zoo team, and which would be a mixture of reception areas, hospital and aviary.

The new facility would also be used as an interpretive center comprising an interactive exhibit hall, education and workshop space, event hall, workshop and office space.

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Plans are also in place for the center to feature a kiwifruit viewing house, which would combine with outdoor aviaries to create a complete experience for visitors. It would be a paying tourist business.

ETEC President Chris French said the organization’s public awareness, education and promotion of biodiversity relies on the organization’s ability to tell its story and the value of the stewardship that she shares with iwi and the community.

“To do that, we want to establish the rehabilitation and interpretive center in Inglewood,” he said during the board presentation.

“Through discussions with other conservation partners across the North Island, we see a significant opportunity to establish a regional native bird rehabilitation centre. This would provide first response care to native birds and work with the larger centers in Palmerston North and Rotorua for more advanced care.

Injured kiwis would be treated at the proposed bird sanctuary.

East Taranaki Environment Trust / Tips

Injured kiwis would be treated at the proposed bird sanctuary.

ETEC is already responsible for pest control covering over 13,000 hectares of land in eastern Taranaki, and this work has helped the region become a national stronghold for the Western North Island brown kiwi. .

This pest control success has also resulted in the area being home to emerging populations of endangered kokako and New Zealand long-tailed bats.

French said the new center would create a stronghold for ecotourism and bird rehabilitation in the western North Island, and would support the very strong growth currently underway in the conservation sector in Taranaki.

“It will provide an opportunity for the New Plymouth district to become the center for this,” he said.

“We are truly delighted to have the opportunity to partner with iwi, New Plymouth District Council and the community on this project.”

It is estimated that establishing the center in its entirety would cost approximately $9 million, and when fully operational, it would require up to 14 core staff and numerous volunteers.

The main challenges now will be finding a suitable location in Inglewood for the center and securing the necessary funding for its construction. Inglewood was chosen as the ideal location because it is central to ETEC’s operations and the community already strongly supports its conservation activities.

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