Meka Whaitiri, local MP for Ikaro – Raawhiti, came to visit the Whangawehi Catchment Management Group for updates on progress made so far. When Meka last came, the group had just received the Supreme Awards (for the Wairoa District) at the Trust Power Community Awards. Back then, the restoration programme was just getting underway.
Meka was impressed to see that in only 18 months the group had fenced off most of the Whangawehi Stream, established 70 000 native trees and developed a school programme with Te Mahia School.
Two weeks ago, the Ministry for The Environment gave us the green light to start our restoration work on Homestead farm and the Taharoa Trust. Since then, our contractors have been busy catching up with a very challenging timeline.
Homestead : Trees have been removed and a new fenceline bladed on bothe sides of the river. A big thank you to HBRC who have assisted the group financially for this work.
Taharoa, a new fenceline is being bladed around the bush blocks.
The fence will be built early March providing the weather is still fine.
On Tuesday the 23/02/2016 we began our first Enviroschools/Whangawehi workshop here at school. This workshop was about starting to plan the beginning of a new school song. What do our children consider special at Te Mahia School? Why do they think living in Paradise is pretty cool? If you have a school song who is it for, (the intended audience). We as writers are writing for our whanau, community members, people who have not been to Mahia and future families and children who may enroll at Te Mahia School. We had to keep in mind when writing a song the following things. Minds are like flowers, have fun, be inspired by other songs you like listening to, be prepared to get rid of the parts you don’t like or attempts from your first go. Of course, Mahia Iz Paradise was our initial song to listen/view and was enormous inspiration for our task we were about to do. We also wanted our children to be a little clearer with different genre of music; Rap, Hip Hop, Reggae, Pop R&B, Rock, Waiata. We then had a go at writing a line or two and beginning this process. Whanau, there are already some catchy lyrics written down and we even had people on guitar and drums with potential music to match the lyrics. This was so much fun and highlighted how music is so good for the soul. Will keep you posted with how our next session goes and the progress we make. Exciting times!
Te Mahia school team
At the end of January, pest control and bird watchers experts from HBRC came for a field visit at Whangawehi. The goal was to receive feedback from the wireless trial underway and also assess the potential for habitat enhancement in the future. The day was well worth while and gave Landowners the confidence that what they had started was already successful. Hans Rook, Bittern expert, was amazed by the scale and the quality of the wetland habitats protected. He encouraged the group to raise water levels in the wetlands and urged them to increase their pest control effort. While on site the group assessed the possible site for a predator free fence that would allow native birds to colonise a predator reduced environment.
The group was most impressed to spot the rare Fern Bird on the frindges of one of the wetlands. With the return of the white baits and the increase in eel populations in the Whangawehi river, Hans Rook predicted a significant increase in bird life in the very future.
The WCMG group is grateful for the assistance received so far and is looking forward to implementing more pest control work in the catchment.