NEW ZEALAND RAPTOR TRUST BOARD MEMBERS PROFILES

Vaughan Skea is  the immediate past Chairman of the New Zealand Raptor Trust and currently treasurer.

His introduction to falconry happened at the early age of around 7 when the Zimbabwe Falconry Club held a local  event. “Dad took me along to watch them hunt with their birds.”

 

His experience was furthered when  his dad saved a white-faced owl from a cooking pot on the farm. “This bird was named Bonding, as  it became  imprinted on the family and would fly out each evening but would return in the morning for breakfast,” Skea says.

 

At boarding school he encountered some peers who were using goshawks in falconry. “Together we established a school falconry club and I found myself training and flying a range of birds over my high school years”.

 

In 2002 he immigrated to New Zealand. Falconry in New Zealand was illegal and the only way to continue was  through rehabilitation. With no local raptor centres, volunteering  was not an option and so we looked at creating a facility closer to home” he says.

 

“In 2016 things started to take shape and the New Zealand Raptor Trust was founded. I also became a member of The New Zealand falconry Association and I have since been enjoying continuing my passion flying and hunting with our Kahu.

Currently chairman of the trust, Ron Lindsay has a long history with avian species. Having bred and showed various parrots and finches since his childhood, raptors were a slightly different challenge.

 

Being a keen wildlife photographer he says,” I had observed and photographed raptors in the wild and always had a great fascination for them. Being invited to part of the trust at it’s inception was a great opportunity to get to know these great birds better”.

 

Ron along with Kahu Tom and new addition Munisa, along with Boo the owl currently lead the education and advocacy programme  of the trust.

 

The Trust counts itself very lucky to have the services of Dr Dries. As well as being our onsite vet, Dries is an active falconer and has a passion for birds of prey.

 

Dries moved to New Zealand in March 2009 from South Africa and joined Vetlife as a senior companion animal veterinarian.

 

 He studied at Onderstepoort, University of Pretoria and qualified as a veterinarian in 1997 after also completing a BSc. Honours degree in 1994.

 

Dries developed an interest in birds of prey after treating an injured Harrier hawk in 2013 and successfully rehabilitated and released the bird. 

 

He took up the sport of Falconry in 2017 and joined the board of trustees of The New Zealand Raptor Trust in 2018. He also has a keen interest in fly-fishing.

Richard Paver, one of the founding members of the trust,  hails from Zimbabwe and  was introduced to falconry when a new staff member at his senior school said he would  mentor  anyone keen enough to give it a go. That started a 34 year passion for raptors and falconry.

 He flew various  C grade birds such as kites, buzzards, some smaller eagles and  goshawks.  His progression to B grade saw him fly  a Black Sparrowhawk and an African Hawkeagle. 

Richard immigrated to New Zealand  twenty  years ago and says he  was fortunate enough to be asked by Vaughan to be a trust member when the trust formed. 

His work has seen him  move aorund a little and he says ” I have been merely observing everyone else do all the work, but hopeful that I can relocate and become more involved sometime soon

 

 The most recent addition to the board, Jenni brings with her  great enthusiasm and energy and a raft of skills in systems,  organisation and management. She is currently our volunteer co-ordinator and board secretary.

 

 She says, “I live on a 1.3 ha lifestyle property with my husband, John, our cat, half a dozen chickens and a pond full of ducks.  As a child our family had a large bird aviary and chickens, so I have always had a soft spot for our feathered friends.

We like to encourage birdlife on our property, we have planted native trees that bring the birdlife and we frequently have Wood Pigeons, Bellbirds, Tuis and recently a Kaka visit.  We also feed the smaller birds, wax eyes, fantails etc.  When possible, we also leave out carrion for the our two resident wild hawks.”

 

When not busy cleaning and caring for our resident raptors, Jenni enjoys mountain biking, gardening and the great outdoors.