Vaughan Skea is the immediate past Chairman of the New Zealand Raptor Trust and currently treasurer.
His introduction to falconry happened at the early age of around 7 when the Zimbabwe Falconry Club held a local event. “Dad took me along to watch them hunt with their birds.”
His experience was furthered when his dad saved a white-faced owl from a cooking pot on the farm. “This bird was named Bonding, as it became imprinted on the family and would fly out each evening but would return in the morning for breakfast,” Skea says.
At boarding school he encountered some peers who were using goshawks in falconry. “Together we established a school falconry club and I found myself training and flying a range of birds over my high school years”.
In 2002 he immigrated to New Zealand. Falconry in New Zealand was illegal and the only way to continue was through rehabilitation. With no local raptor centres, volunteering was not an option and so we looked at creating a facility closer to home” he says.
“In 2016 things started to take shape and the New Zealand Raptor Trust was founded. I also became a member of The New Zealand falconry Association and I have since been enjoying continuing my passion flying and hunting with our Kahu.
Currently chairman of the trust, Ron Lindsay has a long history with avian species. Having bred and showed various parrots and finches since his childhood, raptors were a slightly different challenge.
Being a keen wildlife photographer he says,” I had observed and photographed raptors in the wild and always had a great fascination for them. Being invited to part of the trust at it’s inception was a great opportunity to get to know these great birds better”.
The development of the advocacy and education has been Ron’s passion and he continues to work on the development of the Raptor Experience and schools programmes as well as addressing different community groups
Ron along with Kahu Tom , Waihao Munisa, and little owls Zebedee and Dougal currently make up the education and advocacy team.
The Trust counts itself very lucky to have the services of Dr Dries. As well as being our onsite vet, Dries is an active falconer and has a passion for birds of prey.
Dries moved to New Zealand in March 2009 from South Africa and joined Vetlife as a senior companion animal veterinarian.
He studied at Onderstepoort, University of Pretoria and qualified as a veterinarian in 1997 after also completing a BSc. Honours degree in 1994.
Dries developed an interest in birds of prey after treating an injured Harrier hawk in 2013 and successfully rehabilitated and released the bird.
He took up the sport of Falconry in 2017 and joined the board of trustees of The New Zealand Raptor Trust in 2018. He also has a keen interest in fly-fishing.