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Residents to the rescue after floods wipe out conservation project

Written by David King
on July 09, 2021

MEDIA RELEASE

A group of Charles Upham Retirement Village residents are working on a rush order of predator traps after the May 30 floods devastated a conservation initiative.

The residents at the Ryman village in Rangiora have been manufacturing hundreds of traps for Predator Free New Zealand groups as well as the Department of Conservation for conservation initiatives throughout Canterbury over the past 18 months.

They’re now working on a rush order of 80 traps for the Ashley-Rakahuri Rivercare Group, whose conservation efforts were devastated by the May floods.

Peter Whitehead, from the Rivercare conservation group, said the floods had wiped out dozens of trap lines on the Ashley River which were essential to protect some of the world’s most endangered wading birds from predators.

The fragile habitat is home to wrybills, black-fronted terns and black-backed gulls, and the breeding season is just around the corner.

“I didn’t think we’d lost that many traps until I got down there and saw just how bad it was. We lost 114 traps in total across the area, which is a huge amount,’’ Peter Whitehead said.

The conservationists put out a call for help from the Charles Upham residents who build the traps using offcuts from the construction of Ryman Healthcare’s new Kevin Hickman Retirement Village in Riccarton.

Charles Upham residents Gwenda Johnson, Colin Dixon and Lynn Andrews are part of the team working on the traps.

The traps, built to precise DoC specifications, are made from offcuts recycled from Ryman Healthcare’s construction site at Kevin Hickman Retirement Village at Riccarton Park in Christchurch.

For Gwenda, who has volunteered in the past for Habitat For Humanity building homes in Vietnam, Myanmar and Nepal, helping out is second nature.

“It is good fun and fulfilling. I just toddle down when I have time and help knock some together. It doesn’t get any easier – if a nail goes wrong it goes wrong.’’

Lynn Andrews has helped out the Ashley River group in the past and he has helped lead the group of residents assembling the wooden housings and the traps, that are stencilled with ‘Made with love by Ryman residents’.

Ryman Healthcare Group Chief Executive Gordon MacLeod said it was a pleasure to be able to help the conservation campaign.

“We’re recycling materials and supplying everything they need to make this happen. This means it is a very sustainable project and our endangered birds are the winners.’’

Ryman is rolling out similar projects around the country as part of its commitment to a Predator Free New Zealand.

“And the best thing is that is led by our resident volunteers – so we are delighted to be doing our bit to help,’’ Gordon said.

The Charles Upham residents have built traps used by the Department of Conservation in the High Country, and for Sumner and Port Hills predator free campaigns.

Media advisory: For more information, photos, interviews or comment please contact Ryman Healthcare Corporate Affairs Manager David King on 021 499 602 or Communications Advisor Alan Wood on 027 225 0268.

About Ryman Healthcare:

Ryman was founded in 1984 and has become one of New Zealand’s largest listed companies. The company owns and operates 41 retirement villages in New Zealand and Australia which are home to more than 12,000 residents and the company employs 6,100 staff.

Media advisory: For further information, photos, interviews or comment please contact Corporate Affairs Manager David King on 03 366 4069 or 021 499 602 or Communications Advisor Maryvonne Gray on 027 552 0767.

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