After twenty years on the Tāwharanui Open Sanctuary Society (TOSSI) committee, the last eight as chairperson, Alison Stanes MBE has retired. Of course, she has only retired from the committee, and we still expect she will be an active volunteer at Tāwharanui.  It is hard to imagine Alison giving up on her tireless support of the tūturiwhatu (New Zealand dotterel).  It is my honour to have been elected to take over the role of chairperson and attempt to fill her shoes.

I have been actively involved with TOSSI since moving to the rohe in 2014.  Wanting to get involved in some form of community volunteer work I was fortunate to read an article about the TOSSI nursery and made contact.  On my first visit I also was persuaded to take on a trapline.  Next came joining the committee and it didn’t take long before my wife, Kim, joined me on the trap line and then the nursery. Being involved with TOSSI has enriched our lives greatly.  It’s hard to imagine not working with the great people we have met.

Jackie Russell and Marguerite Vanderkolk have also retired from the committee but have indicated a willingness to continue supporting TOSSI as best they can.  We thank them for their excellent work over recent years.  Steve Osborne, Lyn Hamilton-Hunter, and Mark Atkinson have been elected to fill the vacancies.  We welcome them and look forward to working with them. They bring a broad range of experience and skills and are all active volunteers at the sanctuary.

As a committee we are passionate about leading TOSSI in its support of Auckland Council with the ongoing operation and future development of the Tāwharanui Open Sanctuary. This not only includes the ongoing management of the onsite nursery, wildlife monitoring, fence line monitoring and predator control but also includes involvement with park development and species reintroductions. In the coming years there are plans for a major wetland restoration. We are both challenged and excited by this. However, the benefits of this legacy project far outweigh the effort that will be required.

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