What’s up DOC? April 2020

Department of Conservation Te Papa Atawhai

This newsletter was sent out while New Zealand is in COVID-19 Alert Level 4, however, stories of work completed before the lockdown are included.

Let nature in.

Image: Dirk Scheuble | Creative Commons

How are you letting nature in?

Mā te taiao, kia whakapakari tōu oranga. Let nature in, strengthen your wellbeing.

Even while at home due to COVID-19, there are ways to improve health and wellbeing and let nature into our lives. Research shows it boosts our immune system and reduces stress and anxiety.

Find your own space in your back garden and indoors and let nature be part of your day.

Click the button below for nature activities such as colour bingo with Benji, learning from home resources, 50 things to do in your bubble, plus much more.

Learn more

Takahēawareness month

April is Takahē Awareness Month. You can join in the fun and learn about making more takahē with the Takahē Recovery Programme

Or learn to tell the difference, is it a takahē or a pūkeko

Takahē release at Gouland Downs.

Image: Danilo Hegg | ©

DOC’s response to COVID-19

DOC’s priority is to support New Zealand in stopping the spread of COVID-19 and saving lives.

Check our COVID-19 webpage regularly for updates


Image: Unite Against COVID-19


Lessons in social isolation from a DOC ranger in the Northern Coromandel

Ranger Sierra shares her tips for surviving lockdown, reflecting on what she learned as a summer campground ranger at remote Fletcher Bay

Fletcher Bay.

Image: DOC

Bookable huts: A summer success

Two huts on the Mount Somers Track, Canterbury were often victim to the ‘weekend surge’ of trampers, resulting in overcrowding with many sleeping on the floor.

To manage this, the huts were added to the booking system in October 2019 and have had great success

A quiet Woolshed Hut.

Image: Becs Crilly | DOC

Trail Angels lend a helping hand

Murray and Judy Bramald – New Plymouth residents in their early 70s – are the driving force of the Trail Angels.

This is a small but enthusiastic group supporting our work along the Timber Trail, to keep the Pureora Forest Park cycling trail safe and clear

Murray and Judy Bramald.

Image: Kina Campbell | DOC

International Forests Day

Did you know that new research suggests that trees are in fact far more alert, social and sophisticated than we thought?

Join us as we celebrate the diversity and importance of our forests – some strange, others ancient, many young, and one commemorative – found in and around the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park

Rangitoto pohutukawa forest.

Image: DOC

Get involved

Let nature in with Royal Cam

Royal Cam is a great way to bring nature into your home by watching this season’s cute and fluffy albatross chick.

Royal Cam is a 24-hour live stream of a northern royal albatross nest in Dunedin during the breeding season.

Royal Cam.

Video: DOC

A simple start to cleaning our waterways

Adam, Senior Healthy Waters Specialist at Auckland Council, joins us for a guest blog.

He explores how we can individually and collectively reduce the impact of climate change by protecting the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park

Tiritiri Matangi.

Image: DOC

Sharing our stories competition

To celebrate New Zealand Archaeology Week we are asking young people of Aotearoa to share their stories of a favourite historic place.

Competition is open till 24 May 2020

Mining tracks at Denniston.

Image: Benhi Dixon | Creative Commons

Wash your hands

Advice from the team at Unite Against COVID-19 is: wash your hands often. Use soap. 20 seconds. Then dry. This kills the virus by bursting its protective bubble.

Here’s a video of birds washing themselves as inspiration

Wash your hands video.

Video: DOC, Vandy Pollard and Lynne Irving

Our work

Essential travel helps secure future of shore plover

On 11 April five rare shore plovers/ tūturuatu were given permission to undertake essential travel, supporting a critical conservation programme to establish a new population

Mana Island Ranger Nick Fisentzidis.

Image: DOC

Snail care continues over lockdown

1400 rare powelliphanta augusta snails in Hokitika continue to be fed and cared for over the lockdown period by DOC rangers working in isolation

Powelliphanta augusta snail.

Image: Stefan Marks & Kathrin Marks | ©

The Call of the Lizard Hunter

Gaaaaaaaaah! [g-aaarh!]          Interjection

An exclamation used to express disappointment after you think you’ve found a lizard under a rock, but it is just a stick.

Follow along with the team of lizard experts as they search for the ‘data deficient’ cupola gecko

Ben Barr.

Image: DOC

All things whio

Last month was Whio Awareness Month and some great content was shared. Here’s some of the favourites:


Image: Sabine Bernert | ©


New Zealand’s predator control programme a success

The Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage announced recently that kākā and other threatened native birds and wildlife are thriving due to Tiakina Ngā Manu – the largest ever predator control programme in DOC’s history.


Image: Sabine Bernert | ©

Young kiwi flouts social distancing rules

This photo was taken by resident rangers on Te Hauturu-o-Toi / Little Barrier Island Nature Reserve of a teenage kiwi that invited himself in to have a little nosy around their home!

Someone didn’t pass the memo onto this kiwi about social distancing

Kiwi in kitchen.

Image: Richard Walle, Dr Leigh Joyce | DOC

Keas’ moment of TV fame

The world’s only alpine parrot, the kea, got some airtime recently on TVNZ’s Sunday show.

For some cheeky in your face fun, be sure to watch the clip here

Kea on TVNZ.

Video: TVNZ | ©

Prehistoric-looking wetland critters

Learn about one of New Zealand’s strangest invertebrates – the tadpole shrimp

These tiny wetland critters look like an extinct trilobite and a horseshoe crab traversed the bounds of time to have a teeny tiny baby.

Tadpole shrimp in Sutton Salt Lake reserve.

Image: DOC

Ranger Tama.

Image: DOC

Photo of the month

Ranger Tama has been busy constructing over 110 traps while working from home during the lockdown.

They will add to the 4,700 traps already within Egmont National Park, contributing to the ongoing protection of our precious species.

Read more about his work.

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