Wingspan Raptor Award
Awarded for outstanding efforts in NZ Raptor conservation.
The Wingspan Raptor Award was established in 2006 to recognise individuals, groups, and/or organisations for outstanding efforts and contributions towards New Zealand birds of prey.
Kevin Mathews wears many hats; long time family connections of 175 + years within the Kaitaia district; a farmer, a naturalist, a conservationist, community man, the Chair for the School Board of Trustees, a horticulturalist, and an ornithologist too … Kevin is a nature nerd and bird man!
This week, during a surprise event at Carrington Estate, on Karikari Peninsula, Kevin was presented with the 2021 Wingspan Raptor Award by Wingspan Trustee and researcher Noel Hyde, alongside Executive Director Debbie Stewart.
The Award is bestowed upon Kevin for his untiring enthusiasm researching and protecting Northland’s biodiversity, including an Australian Nankeen kestrel that spent several weeks in the area, and the Australian barn owls which first made Kaitaia their home. Kevin was the first to report barn owls nesting in New Zealand when he discovered a pair breeding in Kaitaia in 2008, along with a young injured barn owl called ‘Tahi’, who, with another barn owl found 8 years later, have become the founders of a new captive population in NZ for the first time this century.
Kevin has directly supported and assisted Wingspan’s research and co-authored 3 scientific papers on the species. Down the track, 15 years later, Wingspan recognises Kevin’s efforts for field research, sharing local knowledge with fellow naturalists, photographers, and the wider ornithological and scientific community.
Noel Hyde said; "Kevin is a very deserving recipient as he epitomises everything the Award celebrates."
Past Winners of the Wingspan Raptor Conservation Award:
2007 Dr Richard Seaton
2008 Andrew Thomas
2009 Colin Wynn
2010 Steve Lawrence
2011 Dr John Holland
2012 Laurie and Janice Hoverd
2014 Mary Staal
2015 Chifuyu Hawksby
2016 Betty Shepherd