Making the best of their time during the Volvo Ocean Race’s stopover in New Zealand, the young crew of the Mirpuri’s Foundation Turn The Tide On Plastic boat assisted with releasing of two Kiwi birds, into the safe environment of Motuora Island. They named one of them Mōhio, the Māori word for wisdom.

The sailors Bianca Cook, Lucas Chapman and the Portuguese Bernardo Freitas, together with the shore crew, had the privilege to take action in an initiative that will contribute to saving an endangered species, a cause that is very dear to the Mirpuri Foundation as wildlife preservation also lies at the heart of the organization.

“This was a very unique moment that very few people have the opportunity to experience and take part in. Being here in Auckland and having the chance to do it as a Volvo Ocean Race sailor onboard the Mirpuri Foundation’s Turn the Tide on Plastic boat was incredible. I couldn’t feel more privileged”, said Bernardo Freitas.

For this initiative, the Mirpuri Foundation’s Turn The Tide on Plastic team partnered with Kiwis for Kiwi, a national charity that supports conservation projects, working to assure the kiwi populations are set in safe and appropriate environments. Motuora Island is a site where kiwi conservation has been very much successful, as their surplus birds can be used to boost wild kiwi populations elsewhere.

The Kiwi are flightless birds native to New Zealand. Because there were no land predators before human arrival, kiwi and other flightless birds could safely live on the ground. However, since humans arrived in the kiwi’s land and brought several other predators with them, such as cats and dogs that kill the birds, or pigs that destroy their eggs, what used to be a safe home for nesting is now a place of threat. An average of 27 kiwis are killed by predators every week, representing a population decline of around 1,400 kiwis every year.

With this action, the Mirpuri Foundation’s boat crew took an active role on the path for a better and safer life for these birds.


Photo Credits: Beau Outteridge