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Urban Kakabeak Project

James Powrie sm

Written by James Powrie, RedAxe Forestry Intelligence

The Urban Kakabeak Project aims to raise awareness and promote propagation of the endangered Kakabeak/Ngutukaka.  This plant is related to Kowhai but has large red, pink, or less typically white flowers. James Powrie of RedAxe Forestry Intelligence coordinates the project alongside land and forest restoration work he performs in Hawke's Bay.

The collection and preservation of wild Kakabeak genetics has involved wild source plants being grown in three deer proof exclosures at Maungataniwha in Northern Hawke's Bay.   This involves a monthly two-hour trip into the Waiau Valley, where plants are cared for by weeding, slug baiting, more planting more to expand the collection, checking deer exclusion fences, and taking cuttings to continue to build the reserve.

The project arose from recognition of members of the national Ngutukaka Recovery Group, that the steady disappearance of wild plants is leading to loss of the genetic breadth of the species.   

Raising awareness of the plant in the cities of Hawke's Bay and building a network of keen growers, (who supply seed back to the project) in the fairly pest free urban environment, is seen as a key to securing genetic diversity of the species, so that one day, wild populations may be rebuilt.  

Human interventions, especially the introduction of animal pests has led to the current plight of Kakabeak, and it is the human interventions of the Ngutukaka Recovery Group, the Urban Kakabeak Project, and other efforts that are necessary for its recovery. 

More keen growers and Kakabeak enthusiasts are sought to help this precious plant to have a brighter future, and subsidised plants are available to suitably keen friends of the Kakabeak who would like to help improve its fortunes. Please join the Urban Kakabeak Project Group on Facebook or contact the coordinator, James Powrie if you're keen -  

Parties supporting this mahi are Pan Pac Environmental Trust, Biodiversity Hawke's Bay, Marie Taylor at Plant Hawke's Bay Nursery, Ngati Pahauwera Development Trust, Forest Lifeforce Restoration Trust, and RedAxe Forestry Intelligence.

24 November 2022

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