Dec 19, 2018 Last Updated 6:44 PM, Dec 16, 2018

Birds on the brink

IMAGINE yourself in a helicopter, over the open ocean, for 100s of kilometres and what seems like hours. You’re attempting to play it cool, hoping your pilot has no trouble finding the small ‘pin prick’ of an island that is your ‘job site’ for the coming weeks, but the beads of sweat on your forehead betray you. “Coming in for a landing!” he shouts over the motor as you begin to descend on a sandy spit of land bordered by palm trees. However, by day ten when this has become a daily routine, you get used to it – at least I did.

I was working on six islands in the remote Acteon and Gambier archipelagos of French Polynesia for six weeks. I had one goal – to protect the Critically Endangered Polynesian Ground-dove (Alopecoenas erythropterus) and the Endangered Tuamotu Sandpiper (Prosobonia parvirostris), or the Tutururu and the Titi as they are referred to by our local partner communities, from invasive species. The Polynesian Ground-dove is a fairly understated but pretty little bird that spends most of its time, as you might guess, on the ground.

Looking at it you would never presume that it is one of the most imperiled bird species in the world. I certainly didn’t know it when I met my first of these eight years ago, nor did I expect my professional fate would become intertwined with that of the doves. This Critically Endangered dove is one of the world’s rarest birds. In fact, it is estimated that there are less than 150 remaining on the entire planet (some say less than 50). Even though these islands are in the middle of the Pacific Ocean over 1500km from Tahiti, their isolation has not protected them from a negative human legacy. read more buy your personal copy at

Our Team

   Managing Director / Publisher

   Samisoni Pareti 

   Group Editor-in-Chief

   Samisoni Pareti

   Marketing and Sales

   Peni Totoka

   Finance and Operations manager

   Sara Winnie Vafo'ou


   Dick Lee


    Main Correspondents




Rowan Callick


Nic Maclellan


Davendra Sharma

   Cook Islands

Helen Greig


Taberannang Korauaba

   French Polynesia

Nic Maclellan

   Marshall Islands

Giff Johnson

   New Caledonia

Nic Maclellan

   New Zealand

Dev Nadkarni


Jason Brown


Naea Michael Jackson

   Papua New Guinea

Sam Vulum


Patrick Matbob


Taina Kami-Enoka

   Solomon Islands

Priestly Habru




Tony Wilson

Find Us on Facebook