On the weekend of16th to the19th April 2021, the Whangawehi Catchment Management Group invited Jeff Hamilton to visit the project and meet with the catchment farmers. Jeff is part of a group of farmers that opened up the famous and popular private walking track in Banks Peninsula. This was the first private track to be opened up in New Zealand and became more popular than any of the farmers could have imagined. Jeff was warmly welcomed by the group and enthusiastic to pass on his advice and expertise. He openly shared some of his learnings and pitfalls when developing his own venture in Akaroa and offered ideas about how something similar could be started around the catchment.
The WCMG thanks Jeff for his outgoing personality, his generosity and the time he spent with us in Mahia. As a gift for his contribution to our community project, Richard Coop, local farmer and pilot, offered him a flight tour over the Mahia Peninsula.
In September 2020, the WCMG was in a privileged position to receive support to help create a nature based employment scheme. The WCMG has been hiring contractors on a part time basis for years but has never been in financial position to employ them on a full time basis.
The Jobs for Nature fund has allowed the WCMG to create 8 permanent hired positions and train then under our historical contractor. This has been a big boast not only for the restoration project but also for our small rural community. Over the years, WCMG has retired over 200 ha of land, planted 250 000 trees, created a public walkway and undertaken ongoing pest control work. Although the scale of the work was always be there, the group has never been able to fund all the work needed to be done. Under this scheme, the WCMG has managed to catch up on all its maintenance programme while building capacity and capability in the community. We hope the scheme will be extended to secure these jobs for the future.
Richard & Hannah Coop as well as their four children are committed to reducing pest pressure on their property. They check their traps on a weekly basis and religiously record their catches…well done guys. A big thank you to Richard, Hannah and their children for being such an encouragement to us all.
On the 7th of April 2021, Jennifer Scothern, our local Enviro school Coordinator, came for a walk along the Whangawehi walkway to prepare a site visit with Te Mahia school.
During a short 30 minutes walk, we talked about archaeological artefacts accessible along the walkway as well as white bait and eels visible at the spawning site. Jenni also enjoyed trying out the new E DNA water test kit made available by the Environmental Protection Authority.
We thank Jenni for being so enthusiastic about connecting people with Nature. We hope the walkway will help her better connect our young tamariki with the beautiful environment they live in.
On the first of April 2021, Dean Aitcheson from Mahia Forest, Malcolm Smith (WCMG Deputy Chair) and Nic Caviale Delzescaux met at the Kinikini car park to discuss possible options for the entrance of the walkway. It has been agreed to ask QRS to give a quote for the work involved. The group progressed into the forest to assess the tracks and discuss about further possibilities. A big thank you to Dean and Malcolm for making the time to help with the Whangawehi walkway.