Massey University’s Professor John Cockrem visited Pūtiki Bay last Friday, having already given Auckland Council his preliminary assessment of a revised management plan for the little penguins at the marina construction site.

“Seeing the breakwater and seeing the bay has been very helpful,” the penguin biologist told Gulf News after his visit last week.

“It has confirmed the recommendations that I made in my initial assessment, and I will revise that document taking into account the site visit, some of the information I’ve gained from the site visit and from talking to people.”

Professor Cockrem says that based on his experience on breakwaters, rock walls and natural kororā sites around New Zealand, the breakwater wall and around to the shoreline at Kennedy Point is “really good kororā nesting habitat”. 

Just how many kororā inhabit the site is difficult to say, he says, as penguins can go out to sea for several weeks at a time before returning to their burrows. Results from surveys with a penguin dog will vary from one day to the next with weather, wind direction, how tired the dog is and how many birds are at home all impacting the number of indications a dog will find.

Professor Cockrem says work he’s been involved with at Port Tarakohe in Golden Bay has shown 80 birds at home in nesting boxes one day and then just four birds 10 days later. •Erin Johnson

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