Earlier this year, Port Otago joined other corporate sponsors in supporting Orokonui Ecosanctuary’s highly-regarded environmental education programme, which reaches more than 6000 young people, annually.
Port Chief Executive Kevin Winders says everyone who visits the ecosanctuary recognises what an exceptional place it is. “As a returning sponsor, we wanted to do more to support the work of the Orokonui team. Our extra help is in the form of live-stream web-cam technology, which will take the experience to the wider community. “It turns out that our timing was spot on. A year earlier – even six months earlier – and it would not have been possible. The tricky bit is Orokonui’s remote location, particularly down in the forest proper.
“We asked George from GDP Productions in Dunedin if he could help and he’s done a great job. We’re excited to be part of making this happen for Orokonui.”
Two web cams will operate. Valley Cam has been installed (attached to the ecosanctuary’s visitor centre building) and overlooks the Orokonui Valley. The second camera – Bird Cam – will be down within the forest itself and live streaming in coming weeks. Its location is technically more challenging, thus the staggered timing of the two camera’s go-live dates.
Orokonui Ecosanctuary General Manager Amanda Symon says the other complicating factor is the birdlife, particularly the kākā. “People are familiar with how ‘curious’ kea can be. Kākā are also an inquisitive parrot – one that’s keen to check out new things in its environment.
“Anything new piques the interest of our wildlife, but soon enough – like a new tree – the camera will become just another part of the forest, as far as the birds are concerned.”
Port Otago is drawing on the expertise of Peter Densen at Harbour Fabrication. Peter is working with the ecosanctuary experts to build kākā-proof housing for the camera.
A big thank you to fellow Orokonui sponsor Unifone, which generously increased the bandwidth capacity to the ecosanctuary at no extra cost. Unifone Director Glenn Hutton says the ecosanctuary’s work underscores that we all have a responsibility to protect our environment and preserve the natural beauty that defines New Zealand as a country.
GPD Productions Director George Dawes says Orokonui is so close to town that it is easy to forget it’s quite a remote location to run a full quality 24/7 livestream. “It has been a real team effort to pull the technology together to deliver a solution that is reliable, simple to operate and most importantly delivers high quality images of this stunning place.
“It’s really special when everyone is so generous with their time, expertise and resources.”