Huge, old-growth kahikatea, taraire and totara sit in alluvial terraces that are still home to long-tailed bats and, during the fruiting season once fed thousands and thousands of native pigeons, kaka and tui.
Pekapeka – Long-tailed Bat
We probably have our unique long-tailed bat to thank for the fact that a new energy has been directed to Ngahere o Pukenui. Following a suggestion of flooding part of the forest for a dam, an ecological report commissioned by DoC revealed the presence of important plant and animal communities, especially long-tailed bats. This put a halt to any flooding of the forest and generated a desire by many in the community to not only protect these taonga, but to bring the forest back to its former glory.
Weta are an ancient New Zealand life form and are under constant pressure from predators such as rats and stoats. Weta boxes have been setup in Pukenui Forest to provide protection for weta when they are resting between meals. They are primarily vegetation eaters and help re-cycle the forest leaves that provide humus for the next generation of native seedlings.
In March 2018, twelve Northland brown kiwi were released into the 1700 hectare Pukenui forest fringing Whangarei city. The twelve kiwi will be joined by a further twenty eight kiwi in years to come.
Pukenui-Western Hills Forest Trust Chairman, Max Hutchings says “Ten years ago we set ourselves a goal of bringing kiwi back to the forest, and it’s great to have turned this dream into reality. It’s been a huge task clearing out the pests to make the forest safe for kiwi to return and working with neighbouring landowners to ensure dogs will be well controlled, and now we’ve done it!”