Earthrise documentary: saving New Zealand’s prehistoric giant wētā

Al Jazeera’s Earthrise documentaries provide a wonderful insight into efforts that are being made by businesses and communities all 0ver the world to give expression to kaitiakitanga and whanaungatanga in creative and sometimes remarkable ways. This documentary focuses on efforts being made in New Zealand to save our endangered Giant Wētā.

Before the arrival of humans in New Zealand, the wētā populations were regulated by predators in the form of birds like the Weka and Kiwi and reptiles. The arrival of humans has introduced two further causes of wētā population decline: (i) introduced species (e.g. cats, hedgehogs, rats and mustelids), (ii) habitat destruction (e.g. forest clearance) and (ii) habitat modification (e.g. the spraying/burning of regrowth forest, scrub and invasive plant communities like gorse). As a consequence, the Department of Conservation in New Zealand considers 16 of the 70 species of wētā at risk. Programmes to prevent extinctions have been implemented since the 1970s. This Earthrise video provides a fascinating insight into efforts being made in New Zealand to save the Giant wētā which is one of 5 different types of wētā (i.e. the Giant weta, the Tusked wētā, the ground wētā, the tree wētā and the cave wētā). This video also draws attention to the importance of reinstating the mana and mauri of Te aho matua whānau o Rangi rāua ko Papatūānuku (transl. the extended family of our Earth mother – Papatūānuku and our sky father – Ranginui).


For more videos by the Al Jazeera Earthrise team:

Source: Al Jazeera

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