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The work of a dedicated group of volunteers in Hamilton’s Mangakotukutuku Gully is helping to breathe new life into the area, with reports of rare native bird sightings. 


In recent weeks there have been a number of native bird sightings reported in the gully, including one of a kereru and several sightings of up to three korimako (bellbirds).  


Hamilton City Council Community Restoration Advisor Aimee Nooyen said the sightings are significant and emphasise the important role volunteer groups play in restoration efforts across Kirikiriroa.


“With National Volunteer Week being celebrated this week, it’s great to be able to highlight recent volunteer efforts that are making a real difference right here in Hamilton,” she said. 


“The recent sightings of kereru and bellbirds in Mangakotukutuku are really exciting for the volunteers who have been carrying out regular plantings and clean-ups in the gully. It is a real credit to them, as well as local residents and others who have been working to restore this area for many years. 


“As part of the Nature in the City programme, we’ve also been concentrating a lot of our predator control efforts in this gully system to help protect long tailed bats and our native bird species, so to see these positive outcomes is very rewarding.” 


Mangakotukutuku Gully runs through the Glenview/Melville area and is one of the six major gully systems in Kirikiriroa.  


The recent bird sightings in this gully follow reports of two bellbirds spotted in the same area last year.  


“It is possible and very likely, that the bellbirds we saw last year have stayed in Mangakotukutuku Gully which could lead to breeding and the potential for a population there,” said Nooyen. 


The Mangakotukutuku Gully volunteers are a newly formed group which took over local restoration efforts two years ago from a streamcare group previously active in the area since 2006. The volunteers meet monthly to carry out plantings, weeding and rubbish clean-ups, and have attracted high numbers – with sometimes up to 40 people from the local community volunteering their time. 


Several local schools, including Glenview Primary School, St Pius X Primary School, Mangakotukutuku College, Melville Kindergarten, Glenview Kindergarten, Best Start Bader and Little Tui Early Childhood Centre, also carry out restoration work in the gully through the Council’s Kids in Nature programme.  


“The local community has really got behind the restoration of Mangakotukutuku Gully which is great to see and means its future is in good hands. We hope to see more native birds making this area home in the not-too-distant future,” said Nooyen.  


Last year volunteers put in 12,000 hours to helping restore the city’s gullies and other natural areas across the city through Council’s Nature in the City programme, while so far this year around 8800 hours have been dedicated. 


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