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the kākāpō breeding season

this summer is expected to be the biggest we’ve ever known.

That’s because we’re having the biggest rimu mast that’s ever been recorded.

Rimu mast (seed fruiting in large amounts) is the trigger for the female kākāpō on Codfish Island/Whenua Hou (about three kilometres north-west of Stewart Island/Rakiura), and on Anchor Island/Puke Nui (in Fiordland’s Dusky Sound) to come, answer the boys booming. Finally joining them to dance in their sounding bowls!

These Islands are home to New Zealand’s main populations of kākāpō. The third Island is Te Hauturu-o-Toi/Little Barrier Island, in the Hauraki Gulf.

There are 148 kākāpō and the population is slowly increasing. But the likeable parrots face lots of problems. The biggest is infertility.

Kākāpō and takahē expert Andrew Digby, a DOC scientist says that, “Only about half of the eggs hatch, and only about a third of the eggs that are laid turn into chicks that fledge.”

Last year, for example, there were 122 eggs laid but only 34 chicks fledged.

That makes mast years like next year of huge importance. Digby says, “It’s going to be a big one for us.”

One that will bring out the girls!

Thanks to the undaunting efforts of the Department of Conservation, in Cloak of Protection, Kākāpō remain in the FOREST realm, and have not joined the EXTINCT realm.

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First takahē eggs for Kahurangi

Takahe eggs
Image: DOC
The pitter patter of little takahē feet is on the cards at Kahurangi National Park. DOC reports that the first eggs of the new wild population have been found at Gouland Downs off the Heaphy Track, only the second wild site for takahē.

Today it is exactly 70 years since takahē were rediscovered in the Murchison mountains of Fiordland.

As a student, one of my holiday jobs was working at the Murrell Accomodation in Manapouri. Old man Murrell told me that he had been one of the group that lead Orbell up into the mountains on that day.

He also laughed and claimed that they knew of the existence of the birds long before this. I wonder?

Never-the-less, we mark today as the 70th year of their rediscovery.

Takahē in Cloak of Protection belong in Tane’s Forest Realm. The work of The Takahē Recovery Programme means that they did not join Hine Nui Te Po in the realm of the extinct.

Seventy years on they remain with us, and are now laying eggs in the wild in two locations.

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World-leading eradication on Antipodes Island

Image: WWF-New Zealand and Island Conservation

Million Dollar Mouse was one of the most complex island eradication projects ever undertaken, and now we know it was successful.

Recent monitoring on Antipodes Island has confirmed that native birds and insects can thrive, free from predation and competition from mice and other mammals.

A successful Cloak of Protection is now made – by a team that included DOC, the Morgan Foundation, WWF-New Zealand, Island Conservation and us, the New Zealand public.

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at the NZAEE conference

Me as weather-controller in Flight of Pollen
Anneke picking up and dropping of Pollen
Predators have ravaged Ben’s Cloak (right)

Cloak building at Zealandia

in April, environmental educators gathered in Wellington for the annual NZAEE conference. On the Thursday evening, while some went off on a night-tour of Zealandia (and saw kiwi) we played games! Kakariki Games.

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Meet the Providers

February was Meet-the-Providers month. Enviroschools in the Greater Wellington region invited teachers to meet with local providers of environmental resources.
Because Cloak of Protection has had huge support from Wellington Enviroschools, I attended events in the Kapiti Coast, in the Hutt Valley, and in the Wairarapa.
Many teachers were very complimentary about Cloak of Protection, and were keen to have a look at Flight of Pollen, and to learn our plans for teaching it.
Here is a table of Kakariki Game goodies, laid out in Featherston.

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playing Cloak in a Tararua tramping hut

playing in a Tararua club tramping hut
playing in a Tararua club tramping hut
Thought I’d share this lovely comment I received in October. Perfect place to play the game!!

Just thought you might like to know how much our family love your card game. It was a real highlight taking it in our pack on our tramp on the weekend. We stayed overnight at a tramping hut with another family and introduced them to the game. With a 7,8,10 and 11 year old we played until after 10pm in candlelight. Only stopping to hear the morepork and to check out possums with torchlight. Was a great location to play the game in!

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the game has generated a life of its own!

Sasana play at the launch Jan 2012.  Morgan Rothwell, Cloak of Protection illustrator, is centre
Sasana play at the launch Jan 2012. Morgan Rothwell, Cloak of Protection illustrator, is centre
Home again & playing the game, last Saturday night with a bunch of primary-school teachers – I realized how much better the game has become since it first left my hands.

It’s morphed.

Partly it’s the Hundredth Monkey Principal.* But it’s more than that!

It’s as if Cloak of Protection has been played often enough, with real meaning, that it’s generated a life of its own!

ie the game now appears to have generated its own force-field! One which is due to all of you.

Scientists acknowledge that his can happen in a creative process.

Rupert Seldrake in his book A New Science of Life says “the creative process can be seen as a successive development of more complex and higher-level wholes, through previously separate things being connected together”.

I stand in awe & wonder.

*The Hundredth Monkey Principal was observed by Lyall Watson. After a group of monkeys on an island learned a new behaviour, suddenly other monkeys on other islands with no possible “normal” means of communication learnt that behaviour too. (Lifetide: The Biology of Consciousness)

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CHRISTMAS holiday gift offer

Wellington Enviroschools & Kakariki games are having a Christmas holiday gift offer on Cloak of Protection.

It’s quite simple. For Nov/Dec every 5 games that are bought where your school is nominated, they’ll get a free game (Karyn says that a school can never have too many games!!).

This replaces the other promotion, in that, for these 2 months, every time your school hits a multiple of 5 sold, they’ll get a game.

And, any school can join in – enviroschool or not! If your school is not already registered as part of our network, then contact me & I’ll put your school name where people can choose you on the buy page.

You can download the poster from the top of the RHS column. You could put it up where parents will see it, &/or put a smaller black&white version in the school newsletter, &/or do anything else you can think of. . .

Thankyou all for being a part of playing the game. It feels so much more alive this Christmas!

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20 months on

It’s been 20 months since the card game, Cloak of Protection, launched at the Mahara Gallery.

The game is a Kapiti Coast production (game, illustration, design), and we’d all like to say a big thankyou to Janet & her team at the Mahara, for giving us our beginning, and putting us on our feet.

Once you’d shown confidence in us, others followed. The Gallery exhibition showed the quality of Morgan’s illustrations. The time spent playing the game, in sessions at the gallery – with local schools & with visitors at the gallery – started the first wave of enthusiasm. And the sales through the retail space, proved that the game had real potential.

To date, we have sold 980 games. To put this number in perspective, a big print-run for a game in NZ is 1,000 & it generally takes 4+ years to sell them all!!

noho ora mai ra