A fantastic first guided walk

The first summer guided walk of the season got underway with a sizable group attending.  Arthur, Malcolm and Nic shared the story of the Whangawehi river to a group of enthusiastic locals and holiday makers.  The day was enjoyed by all and the group welcomes any other persons wanting to join the second walk planned for Saturday 2nd of January 2016.  Thank you to all the landowners for opening their gates on these special occasions and Sandy from Go Bus for helping out with transport logistics during the holiday period.  On behalf of the Whangawehi Catchment Management Group we wish you all a Happy New Year.

Pest control update.

The last pest control run was undertaken before the Christmas holidays. A large number of pests have been killed over the past six months including Wild Cats, Stoats, Weasels, Hedgehogs, and rats.  Thanks to Grandy Lake Forest, a new gate was opened which allowed contractors to access the different sites more efficiently, therefore reducing the costs associated with pest control.  One hundred and twenty five traps are currently operating over four properties with the intent to reduce pests along the Whangawehi Stream.  Thank you to all the landowners for maintaining the traps and reporting back those results to the Project Co-ordinator.

End of year water run.

Arthur Bowen, Cultural Health Index Co-ordinator completed his last water monitoring session for the year.  Algae growth levels in the river are steadily decreasing probably due to the lower than average water temperatures.  Large numbers of both whitebait and Red Fin Bully were observed in the forest area in shallow water.  With the approach of summer the water flow is steadily decreasing which will increase water temperature and reduce the life supporting capacity of the stream.  With the native trees planted on the stream banks we hope to create a shading effect that will lower water temperature and increase life supporting capabilities of the stream.  Tissue sample analysis undertaken last month on Whetiko and Cockels for heavy metal and hydro-carbons showed below guidelines levels.   Recently, E. coli levels were above recreational guidelines after the rain event of November and clearly indicates that we still have some work ahead of us.  On a positive note E. coli levels have been below recreational levels since January 2015 (except for after this rain event) so their is hope that once the restoration programme is completed we might significantly improve water quality in general.

A new signatory to the Whangawehi Memorandum of Understanding

On the 22d of December, Len Syme, farmer in the Whangawehi Catchment officially joined the restoration programme by signing the group’s Memorandum of Understanding. Len farms a significant area of land in the catchment and leases Homestead farm (owned by Grandy Lake Forest). Back in 2012, Len Syme accepted to sell some of his land to the Hawkes Bay Regional Council to build what is now know as the Waste Water treatment plant. We welcome Len on board and are looking forward to working with him in the future.  The group now has 12 signatories out of 15 landowners .

Forging ahead with Te Kura Kaupapa O Te Wairoa

Oha Manuel, community engagement officer for the Whangawehi organised a successful presentation at the Kura in order to raise awareness of the groups work in the community.  Attended also by group members; Rae Te Nahu, Arthur Bowen, Sophie Dodds and Nicolas Caviale-Delzescaux , members individually presented different aspects of the project.  The teachers were impressed and excited by the prospect of future collaborative work between the Whangawehi and the school.   Plans have been put in place for the school to built both Weta and Blue Penguin boxes and develop a logo for the project.  The group would like to acknowledge the friendly and kind welcome given by the staff at the school and is looking forward to working closer together in 2016.

Maara kai Competition

The last Matauranga Maori workshop for the Mahia school year ended with a cook off between students involving traditional foods at Rauwharo Marae.  Local Kuia Sophie Dodds shared her passion and knowledge of traditional food preparation using Kelp and Sean Gaskin judged the final plates.  Mr Gaskin demonstrated making kale chips and hummus and for lunch the students enjoyed potatoes, kumara, herbs and sausages cooked in kelp bags.  The day concluded with their silver Environmental School presentation from Wairoa Enviro-schools co-ordinator Jenni Scothern-King. A big thank you to Ruawharo Marae, Mr Gaskin and Jenni Scothern for organising such a fantastic day. Nga mihi nui kia koutou.

Nuhaka school visits Whangawehi

The Whangawehi Catchment Management group was privileged to have the visit of Nuhaka school students today in what could be shaping up to be a new partnership between the two groups.

Oha Manuel, community engagement officer and Nic Caviale, project co-ordinator walked the students to Mamangu for a site visit.  The children undertook water testing on the Whangawehi River, laid out traps for pest control measures and staked the newly planted native trees.

On returning, the group stopped next to a midden (an old Maori shellfish pit)  and discussed how local Tipuna lived off the land and the sea.

The final highlight for the day was visiting the blue penguin box site where the group is actively trying to attract back this bird.

Thank  you to  Shane Mildenhall for allowing access to the site and to the students for their help and enthusiasm.

Wireless pest control trial


The Whangawehi Catchment Management Group is actively looking at increasing the scope of its pest control programme.  With assistance from the Hawkes Bay Regional Council the WCMG has been selected as a pilot project to trial 25 new state of the art traps.

These pest control traps are designed to send a signal to a hub located on a high point in the catchment every time a pest is caught.  This data is then sent to the landowners via an application on their mobile phones which alerts them to when and where the traps have been triggered.

This technology could potentially change the face of pest control in the future by significantly reducing maintenance costs, especially in very difficult and rugged terrain.   Contractors would only need to be sent in on targeted trap lines when a set percentage of traps have been set off.   This differs from the traditional maintenance techniques which consist of checking and maintaining the traps on a monthly basis, whether the traps have been sprung or not.

This new wireless leading edge technology added to the new long lasting baits/lures (which last up to twelve months) makes this trial relevant to our steep and remote Mahia hill country.   If successful these traps will play a key role in pest control challenges ahead.  Over the past two years the group has established 70,000 trees and noticed a steep increase in birdlife.  This pest control programme would play an instrumental role in protecting the ever increasing wildlife that is coming back to the area at a significantly lower cost.

The WCMG want to thank Grandy Lake Forest and Taharoa Trust for their co-operaton in trialling these new technology traps and HBRC for allowing us to be part of the trial.