The White-flippered Penguin Trust (WFPT) was established in 2001 at the conclusion of Turning Point 2000. It is a registered charitable Trust under the Charitable Trusts Act 1957 and is tax exempt.
The main objects of WFPT are, firstly, to preserve, protect and foster the White-flippered Penguin as it is not only an endangered species but is also the only endemic species to Canterbury. Secondly it is the intention of WFPT to establish an eco-tourist facility at Boulder Bay on Godley Head to fund the ongoing preservation of the species. Here, the public will be able to view the Penguins as they arrive on shore at dusk before moving inland to their nesting boxes. A viewing platform, a visitor-centre, lighting and other facilities based on the successful eco-tourism ventures at Oamaru and Phillip Island (Australia) are part of the Trust's vision.
Currently the main breeding colony of the White-flippered Penguin is on Motunau Island, North Canterbury and although protected by its Nature Reserve status, the colony of birds is vulnerable to possible future diseases. By establishing alternative colonies at Harris, Boulder and Flea Bays, the future of the Penguins is more assured. The eco-tourist venture at Boulder Bay will help to fund these alternative sites.
The establishment of the proposed colony at Boulder Bay is dependent on a decision by the CCC regarding the competing uses of public land at Boulder Bay. The Environment Court decision in 2007 places the onus on the Council to decide on this issue and it is the contention of the Trust that an eco-tourism venture at Boulder Bay will benefit many thousands of Cantabrians and visitors alike. The Trust wishes to work with the occupiers of the baches at Boulder Bay to encourage this venture, and contends that apart from one bach all existing baches could remain under strict licensing conditions.
WFPT awaits the Christchurch City Council decision on this matter.
The current Trustees include:
In addition, affiliated Members from both public and private sectors lend support when it is required.
DOC has assisted with trips to Motunau Island and with permits for the translocation of penguin chicks.
Chris Challies is active in the field each week monitoring the Penguin colony at Harris Bay and trapping predators on Godley Head and is responsible for the written data on the species.
On occasions, the Trust will accompany groups to Harris Bay to view the birds either by walking from Taylors Mistake or Godley Head car parks. Access to the beach is not easy and group numbers are limited to 10 at a time otherwise management and safety issues are compromised. Birds can be viewed in their nesting boxes from October to March but only under the direct supervision by a trustee.
The Trust seeks support for its aims and until the eco-tourism venture of the Penguin Parade becomes a reality.
Donations to cover operating costs will be much appreciated.
The public are also encouraged to write to the Mayor of Christchurch indicating their support for the Penguin Parade at Boulder Bay as a way of saving the endangered White-flippered Penguin.
Our address to become a member is:
The White-flippered Penguin Trust
P.O. Box 36 361