Pied shag memorial to honour Pam Howlett

For more than 30 years Pam Howlett fed and nursed Panmure Basin's colony of pied shags.
JAMES PASLEY/FAIRFAX NZ

For more than 30 years Pam Howlett fed and nursed Panmure Basin's colony of pied shags.

A pioneer of pied shag protection will be remembered with a memorial.

Seven years after pied shag protector Pam Howlett died a steel sign will be erected outside her home and shag sanctuary on Watene Rd, Mount Wellington to remember her conservation efforts. 

The sign will have a photo of Howlett beneath the shadow of a shag with its wings open. 

Pied shags are a protected bird species that are usually large, with black and white feathers and distinctive yellow ...
JAMES PASLEY/FAIRFAX NZ

Pied shags are a protected bird species that are usually large, with black and white feathers and distinctive yellow hooked beaks.

For more than 30 years Howlett fed and nursed Panmure Basin's colony of pied shags. The shags are a protected bird species that have black and white feathers and distinctive yellow hooked beaks. 

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On Howlett's watch set netting was banned from the basin and boats had to slow down to 5 knots. 

She was instrumental in forming the New Zealand Bird Rescue Charitable Trust and ran Bird Rescue's Panmure centre for many years.

Resident Corina Hooper carried on caring for the shags and wanted Hooper to be remembered. 

"She is a lot of the reason the shags survived," Hooper said.

In April Hooper said the colony had gone from 30 breeding shags to five since 2010 due to over fishing and incidents with fishing lines. 

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"Even though things are in dire straits, if this place wasn't there they would have been dead a long time ago."

Hooper said Howlett used to leave buckets of water filled with fish guts outside and when jet boats raced past she would chuck the fishy water at them as a warning. 

Howlett became interested in shags after she bought her house in the late 1960s, and saw them through her kitchen window.

When she became ill she had herself transferred to a nearby hospital so she could still hear the shags whilst in care. She passed away there in 2010, at 74-years-old.

On social media site Neighbourly.co.nz residents remembered Howlett. 

Mount Wellington resident Louise Waller said she was amazed at the amount of cages all over the property.

Ellerslie resident Juliet Ware said she was impressed at the scope of Howlett's bird care. 

"I don't know how she even slept at all with all the care and around the clock feeding they required," Ware said.  

Onehunga resident Sue Werner said the memorial was a wonderful plan to acknowledge all the work done with the shag colony.

Hooper aimed to raise $2700 for the sign and asked for donations on the Givealittle website.

 - Stuff

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