Seeing Takahe Fly
The exhibition Blue Planet closed at Christchurch Art Gallery on 20 February 2011, two days before the big earthquake that resulted in the Gallery being transformed into an emergency response centre.
Eileen Mayo, Takahe, Gouache and coloured pencil on paper, 1976. Purchased, 2005. Reproduced courtesy of Dr Jillian Cassidy
Included in the show was Eileen Mayo's exquisite miniature painting in gouache of a takahe, originally part of a series of artworks from her 1976 Rare and Endangered Birds of New Zealand series, commissioned to become collectors' cards in packets of Gregg's Jelly. Visitors who used the exhibition's activity brochure were invited to leave a gold coin donation, with money raised to be used to support projects protecting the endangered takahe.
A modestly useful sum was raised and possibilities for its use were considered by Phil Tisch, manager of the Takahē Recovery Programme in Te Anau, who eventually found a tidy match for our aims. This recently come to fruition with funds being dedicated towards the costs of transferring an adult male takahe from Mana Island to Willowbank Wildlife Reserve in Harewood, Christchurch.
Willowbank keepers welcome Tebee to his new Christchurch home.
Willowbank's Head Keeper Shaun Horan explains:
'We received a male takahe from Mana Island on the 21/11/12 via Wellington. The bird flew in the fuselage with the passengers and made a very comfortable journey to Christchurch international airport where the pilot carried the bird out to us in the terminal. His name is Tebee and he is an elder Takahe that has taken to life here in the reserve well, regularly displaying in our purpose built display. He had a three monthly check-up on 7 February and weighed in at a handsome weight of 3024g.
Many of the birds which are transferred off the island including Tebee are at an age that they are non breeders or are no longer paired to produce chicks. The significance of these birds change to a role of advocacy which is vital to helping New Zealanders and the like understand and appreciate the significance of these birds.'