In 2002 TOSSI was formed to help the then Auckland Regional Council make the open sanctuary project at Tawharanui Regional Park a reality. TOSSI was instrumental in funding and installing the predator-proof fence which runs from the northern coast of the Tawharanui peninsula to the southern. This fence is the single most important element in helping ensure that the open sanctuary remains a sanctuary. TOSSI projects include forest and wetland restoration, re-introduction of threatened species, monitoring animals and plants, pest control and establishment and maintenance of walking tracks.
Ransom Wines decided the TOSSI project was an extremely valuable contribution to the conservation of threatened native and indigenous species and worthy of support. We formed an agreement in 2007 with TOSSI to sponsor the Society in whatever practical ways we were able to. Our sponsorship mainly involves the provision of money, which comes from several sources. First, all tasting fees collected at our cellar door are contributed. Second, we provide TOSSI with $1.00 for every bottle of our premium “K Syrah”, sold in New Zealand. Third, we have special event dinners at our winery for groups of up to 60 people, and a proportion of the price for attending the dinner is earmarked as a donation to TOSSI. These dinners generally have entertainment in the form of a guest speaker talking about something happening at the open sanctuary or some other conservation-related topic. Fourth we provide wine for TOSSI events.
The funds we contribute are channeled into the Kakariki re-introduction, support and monitoring project. We have been present in the bush at Tawharanui for two of the Kakariki release events. It is a great thrill to see these beautiful little red-crowned parakeets spring out of the boxes in which they are transported from Little Barrier Island and fly off into the bush, chattering as they go.
K Syrah is our premium syrah. Why “K”? Many of New Zealand’s indigenous birds’ names begin with K, including a number of the most endangered. The striking label on the K Syrah bottle features exquisite paintings of native birds, all either endangered or named with a K, or both. The tamper strip which runs across the top of the bottle lists 23 K birds. K Syrah also sounds like que sera, so there is an element of irony in the name because if New Zealanders take a que sera attitude to our endangered birds they are more likely to become extinct.
We are pleased to report that after successive release events without a great deal of apparent success initially, Kakariki now appear to be breeding at Tawharanui.