Takitumu Conservation launches management plan to intensify the protection of the Kākerōri 

The management plan aspires to achieve Goal 9 of the National Sustainable Development Agenda 2020+ (NSDA) by increasing support to our local partners, including non-government organizations. NES, the TCA Committee and other key partners have agreed to prioritize biodiversity conservation, ecosystem services, capacity building, research & data collection and communications throughout this plan. 
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Earlier this month, the Takitumu Conservation Area (TCA) Committee and the National Environment Service launched the TCA Management Plan 2020-30.  The Management Plan is based on studies spanning over 36 years, on the management and conservation of the endemic Kakerori (Rarotonga Flycatcher), which is found in the TCA. Representatives from the three landowner tribes attended the launch as a significant conservation milestone: Ngati Kainuku, Ngati Karika and Ngati Manavaroa.

The Covid19 pandemic delayed the completion of the management plan, however the proactive approach by key stakeholders involved gave impetus to the final completion of the plan. The launch was a celebration of the achievements of the families involved in the TCA, as well as progressing long term sustainability and conservation measures. 

The Kakerori population grew from only 29 found in 1989, to well over 620 in 2023. These endangered species thrive in this 155-hectare conservation area and is one of the Pacific’s most successful stories for conserved areas. This management plan covers this history, along with recommendations that will solidify this work for the next 10 years. The management plan includes census counts, illustrations of the TCA size, distribution of birds, and the threats to the kakerori’s population including cyclones. 

The TCA management plan was developed under NES’s Ridge to Reef Project (R2R) with support from the New Zealand Department of Conservation (DOC), with the aim to achieve the following. 

  • Maintain the existing rat and (through secondary poisoning) feral cat poisoning programme.
  • Continue to monitor the demography of kakerori by catching and marking birds. 
  • Improve the educational resources and awareness about the TCA.
  • Source funding to continue the conservation work. 

The management plan aspires to achieve Goal 9 of the National Sustainable Development Agenda 2020+ (NSDA) by increasing support to our local partners, including non-government organizations. NES, the TCA Committee and other key partners have agreed to prioritize biodiversity conservation, ecosystem services, capacity building, research & data collection and communications throughout this plan. 

TCA Committee Chairperson, Mr Ian Karika, stated ‘I am very proud with the work done by all three tribes. This will be the first Management Plan of its kind for Rarotonga, since the Takuvaine Water Catchment Management Plan 2006’. NES Senior Partnerships Coordinator, Mr Muraai Herman, stated “The launch of the TCA Management Plan between NES and the TCA committee is a positive step in pushing the awareness of this great Conservation Area with the many interesting facts provided by the team from DOC, namely Mr Ed Saul, Hugh Robertson, Lynda Nia, Lynn Adams and the hard working pioneers Mr Ian Karika, Ana Tiraa and the landowners of the TCA: Ngati Karika, Ngati Kainuku and Ngati Manavaroa.” 

The TCA is being further supported by the GEF-7 Enhancing Nature’s Unique Areas (ENUA) project, which will contribute to the implementation of the management plan and continues to strengthen its effective management to reverse one of the triple planetary crisis of biodiversity loss.

The TCA Management Plan (2020-2030) can be viewed here.

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The National Environment Service is established to protect, conserve and ensure the Cook Islands environment is managed sustainably. The agency is headed by a Director with delegated powers to carry out the functions of the Environment Act 2003.

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