Introduction

Meet 'Harry the Hihi,' the mascot for DOC's Hihi Recovery Plan. He works hard to spread the word about his species.

Date:  12 June 2014

By Liz Maire, DOC Partnerships Ranger in Warkworth

We'd like to introduce 'Harry the Hihi,' who recently hatched as the mascot for the Department of Conservation’s Hihi Recovery Plan. He has been working hard to spread the word about his species to the staff of NZ Safety, DOC's commercial partners for the programme.

Harry the hihi logo.
Harry the hihi hatched as an idea by WISNZ staff member Keryn McCracken

Wesfarmers Industrial and Safety NZ (WISNZ) and their subsidiary company NZ Safety have been involved in supporting the hihi for five years, joining with DOC and other organisations involved in managing this species at six North Island sites.

Harry was hatched as an idea by WISNZ staff member Keryn McCracken, and now appears in the WISNZ in-house newsletter, telling staff about his species and how they are making a difference by getting involved.

Keryn, a self-confessed "bird-nut" said that others in the company didn't know much about hihi so it's been a great way to raise awareness about this special bird.

Keryn McCracken (WISNZ) carrying out post breeding monitoring on Tiritiri Matangi.
Keryn McCracken (WISNZ) carrying out post breeding monitoring on Tiritiri Matangi

Employee involvement is not limited to reading the newsletter. Some staff have been inspired to apply and get selected for the chance to help with pre and post breeding hihi monitoring at places like Tiritiri Matangi and Kapiti.

Keryn earned herself the opportunity to visit Tiritiri Matangi and enjoyed her experience:

"I leant how to appreciate these birds up close, especially being tasked with reading their leg bands while they are in the feeders. Not easy when you have a problem telling left from right and the birds are still for such a short time. I was just blown away by the bird life on the island, lots of great encounters night and day." — Keryn McCracken, WISNZ

My Kitchen Rules entrants at the NZ Safety Distribution Centre and the results of their baking.
My Kitchen Rules entrants at the NZ Safety Distribution Centre and the results of their baking

For the staff at DOC, it's been a pleasure to facilitate opportunities for the NZ Safety staff to connect with these birds at some very special places.

But it's been a surprise to see the way so many people in the company have got on board to raise extra dollars. It's an indication of how this species has touched their hearts.

Last year as enthusiasm grew, the staff decided they could do more. Dominique Latu, involved in managing NZ Safety's national contracts, came up with a fundraising idea that proved to be a winner:

"I knew everyone was passionate about food, so tried to find a way to raise money that involved cooking and eating—as well as tapping into people's creative side." — Dominique Latu, NZ Safety

The winning hihi cake from My Kitchen Rules, created by Alistair Ferriera from NZ Safety.
The winning hihi cake from My Kitchen Rules, created by Alistair Ferriera from NZ Safety

He put together a 'My Kitchen Rules' challenge for staff from all departments of the company. They baked, they ate and they donated.

Even staff from another subsidiary company, Packaging House, were drawn in to compete and learnt about the hihi.

One of the category winners was the hihi cake (decorated with birds that is, not containing the real thing!) It tasted as good as it looked.

Along with other initiatives like a soup kitchen, toasted sandwich lunches and a colouring competition, a total of more than $1,000 was raised to further support the hihi programme.

This winter they plan to do it all again. As their newsletter says "Don't forget, Harry still needs you!"


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