In addition to his tourism activities, Phillip is also a trustee of the Rakiura Maori Land Trust and one of the tangata tiaki (guardians) of the Te Whaka a Te Wera Mataitai – a customary fisheries reserve that was gazetted in 2004, which aims to restore and protect the fish stocks of Paterson Inlet for all New Zealanders. He’s passionate about that – about conservation in general in fact – and he’s worked hard to help rid Stewart Island of predators that prey on kiwi.
Stewart Island Feb 2009 Ajr
“We’re lucky here on Stewart Island to have over 25,000 tokoeka (South Island Brown Kiwi); they’re not endangered here as they are on the mainland but we want to make sure it stays that way. There’s nowhere else in New Zealand where you can walk along a sandy beach at night and see kiwi hunting for sandhoppers among the seaweed,” he says. Phillip makes no guarantees that you’ll see a kiwi on one of his trips but his strike rate hovers around 98%. “We almost always see one or two kiwi. The most we’ve spotted in one night is seven and there are other treats like Hooker sea lions, seals and little rock hopper penguins. There’s always something to see,” he says. http://www.stewartisland.co.nz/