Wild For Taranaki

Proposed Inglewood wildlife centre

Area in Inglewood proposed for a Wildlife rehab centre

A native bird rehabilitation centre in Inglewood is a step closer following the council agreeing to buy the land on which to house it.

The New Plymouth District Council recently supported the East Taranaki Environment Collective’s concept of a part wildlife rehab space, education and eco-venture, agreeing to buy six hectares near Joe Gibbs Reserve and the Kurapete Stream.

East Taranaki Environment Collective is responsible for pest control covering more than 13,000ha of land in eastern Taranaki, which has helped it become a national stronghold for the North Island Western Brown Kiwi.

East Taranaki Environment Collective board chair Chris French says the group aims to create a wildlife recuperation facility similar to Wildbase in Palmerston North and use it as a vehicle for showcasing conservation in the area.

“We see it as an opportunity for the public to get a better understanding of conservation and it would also be a place where local vets come together in one place and provide care for native birds.

Chris said the collective was excited about working with Pukerangiora hapū and wider iwi and hapū partners on the project “to put a te ao Māori perspective on that and what it means for conservation”.

Pukerangiora hapū chair Ānaru White said while it was involved as mana whenua, the project was bigger than them. “Caring for our taiao [environment] is essential for us as a hapū and we are excited to be involved. The hapū knows the opportunities extend to other iwi and the community,” he said.

“We’re aware that a lot of our native wildlife, especially kiwi, are going outside the region to be cared for, so to have this resource in the area will be hugely beneficial.”

East Taranaki Environment Centre manager Rebecca Somerfield said they were delighted the council was supporting them, however, there was still a lot to be done with forming partnership agreements and working how the centre would operate and be funded.

“We want to bring the community on this journey and work together, ensuring that the centre has all the functions required of it.”

The trust is aiming to hold a series of workshops in coming months with interested individuals and groups about the centre.