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Summer Newsletter

February 31 2023

Humans, petrel-heads, boaties and skinks flock to Glenfern this summer...

Glenfern Diary


The summer season at Glenfern Sanctuary has been busy on all fronts!

There’s been a steady stream of visitors, especially tour groups visiting Glenfern, and Fitzroy House and Glenfern Cottage have been full of guests.

A big thank you to our managers Steve and Christine who are fantastic hosts, guides, and accommodation operators. Meanwhile they’ve been extremely busy with all the ongoing work the Sanctuary requires! Not the least right now dealing with the impacts of the weather; will the rain ever stop?!

Read on for the latest news!

  • Providing a sanctuary for our black petrels (takoketai)

  • Hillary Outdoors Torpedo7 Get2Go Challenge

  • Glenfern becomes a cruise destination

  • Every cloud has a silver lining (chevron skink)

  • North Shore Aero Club pays a flying visit

  • Spirit of NZ at Fitzroy

  • Showcasing Glenfern to the local Board

Providing a sanctuary for our black petrels


Visiting seabird experts Maira and Gaia discovered a number of black petrels (takoketai) when they spent 3 days at the Sanctuary in January. They searched the many burrows and not only did they find a number of these critically endangered birds, but most of the birds which had returned to Glenfern were protecting eggs.


These petrel-heads breed in burrows between October to July and are found only on Aotea Great Barrier Island and Hauturu Little Barrier Island. With only a single egg laid per breeding season from mid-November to late January, the birds are in serious trouble. Their biggest threats are introduced mammalian predators and being caught as by-catch by commercial fishing vessels. Black petrels migrate to South American waters during the non-breeding period, congregating in offshore and pelagic waters off Ecuador.


“We are so proud we are doing our bit to keep them safe and hopefully see their numbers increase,” say Steve and Christine.


Hillary Outdoors Torpedo7 Get2Go Challenge

December saw the return of the Torpedo7 Get2Go Challenge final to Aotea Great Barrier. This Hillary Outdoors event sees 10 schools which have won the right to represent their region, descend on Aotea where they spend several days undertaking outdoor challenges in the pursuit of winning the overall Get2Go Challenge title. With Glenfern right on the doorstep of Hillary Outdoors our tracks make a great course for a lot of the challenge activities. "The weather certainly wasn’t kind with torrential rain for most of the challenge but all the teams that headed through the Sanctuary seemed in great spirits and we could just make out the smiles through the mud!” says Steve.


Glenfern becomes a cruise destination




It was great to see the National Geographic Expedition Ship Orion visit Port Fitzroy on New Year’s Eve. Sanctuary Manager Steve was invited onboard to give a presentation on the history of Glenfern and Sanctuary operations. Following the presentation, 55 guests and their wonderful guides (pictured) came ashore and walked the Loop Track. Even better they confirmed another three visits in February so Glenfern can be shared with a whole lot more wonderful people.


Every cloud has a silver lining

Whilst the weather was not so good in the weeks following Christmas it did mean that once it cleared not only humans started to emerge. Sanctuary Managers Steve and Christine were delighted to be joined by a mature Chevron Skink in the garden right in front of the cottage deck as they relaxed after a day’s work. Certainly, a very special treat for them and just goes to show you never really know what will pop up in front of you when you are living or holidaying in a Sanctuary.


North Shore Aero Club pays a flying visit

Saturday 21 Jan saw a “flying” visit to Glenfern by members of the North Shore Aero Club. It was awesome to see the normally quiet Okiwi airstrip full of light planes. The club members were picked up and driven over to Fitzroy, enjoyed a presentation by Steve, had a stroll around the Loop Track and enjoyed lunch at either the Port Fitzroy Burger bar or the Port Fitzroy boat club. Then quick as a flash they were on their way home. A great day had by all and thanks to Craig Moss for organising it. If you are keen to organise a quick day trip like this make sure you get in touch.

Spirit of NZ at Fitzroy

We are always excited when the Spirit of NZ anchors in the bay. It is a stunning looking vessel and really stands out. Even better is the fact that the trainees and crew pop in to Glenfern to walk the Loop Track each time they visit and also stop at the office where Steve gives them a short talk on Sanctuary operations and seeding the idea that volunteering at Glenfern in future is something to consider!


Showcasing Glenfern to the Local Board

It was a pleasure to host a visit of the newly elected Local Board Members to Glenfern. After a quick trip up to Sunset Rock and a welcome from Glenfern Trustee Rodney Ngawaka the team joined Steve and Christine in the office for lunch and discussed current and future projects at Glenfern.

“We really look forward to a positive relationship and assistance from the Local Board in the years to come,” Steve, Christine and Rodney.




That's it for now. Thanks for reading and if you know of others who may be interested in the Sanctuary and are interested to learn about our mahi - please forward our newsletter to them! We love visitors to walk our 2km loop track through pristine native bush, see some of our most endangered species, hear the beautiful birdsong and feel the wairua of the place.


Nga mihi

The Glenfern team

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