The Cape to City team visits Whangawehi

Wendy and Nathalie from HBRC came to have a look at the catchment. They work for the Cape to City project and were interested to see how we were carrying out our pest control work. Pat drove them to the whare, the weather was terrible but they enjoyed their time there and got to see the project for themselves.  Pat also took Wendy and Nathalie to Okepuha Station where the next generation of environmental warriors are growing. Eva Coop was proud to show us her rifle…and apparently she doesn’t like cats !

A big thank you to Pat and Sue, Richard and Hannah (and Eva) for making themselves available.

We may see Wendy and Nathalie a bit more if the Mahia Pest free project progresses.

 

Whakaki Lake Trustees take a tour of the Whangawehi

On Saturday the 28th of April 2018, the Whangawehi Catchment Management Group (WCMG) offered a guided tour to three Whakaki Lake Trustees-Paihau Solomon, Willy Kahukura and Archie Waikawa.  Aurthur Bowen (Cultural Health Index Coordinator) and Nic Caviale (Project Co-ordinator) showed the representatives a number of key areas of the project starting from the Whangawehi bridge all the way up to Okepuha Station.

On the way they stopped at the Whare on Taharoa where the group stopped to enjoy a bite to eat.  This site offers a superb view of the valley and is surrounded by a collection of flax for weaving.  We exchanged a lot of ideas, dreams and aspirations for the future.

The last stop was on Okepuha Station, award winners at the Balance Environmental Awards.  The WLT group appreciated the recent plantings and the fencing standard.  On behalf of the WCMG we thank you for taking the time to visit our project.  It was great to see there enthusiasm and invigoration.  We hope we inspired them by showing what working together can achieve.  We wish them all the best.

 

 

Mahia Pest Free vision received well by the community.

On Saturday the 14th of April, Campbell Leckie from HBRC came to Tuahuru Marae to talk to the Mahia Community about a Mahia Pest free vision.

In his presentation Campbell highlighted the fact that biodiversity is actually in decline and that pest control and habitat restoration are key elements in reversing this trend. Campbell gave an explanation on how this could achieved if the community decided to embrace a Mahia Pest Free vision.

He suggested that possums could be eradicated in the first phase (farmers are already investing money) and thereafter the investment could be transferred to multiple animal pest species control programme including (feral cats, stoats, ferrets, rats, hedgehogs).

If the project goes ahead, the Peninsula should observe a significant recovery in biodiversity including birds, trees, lizards and invertebrates in general. It would also reduce the risk of toxoplasmosis for sheep farmers and create unique opportunities for economic development.

Campbell explained that a wide range of funders would be needed to achieve this vision. Hawkes Bay Regional Council has committed $200,000 to kick start the journey with there initial target would be possums.  OMV NZ Ltd are interested in being joint partners and potentially funding up to $200,000 and other partners will join over time.

OMV represented by Tim and Eva, made a presentation about their company that operates globally.  OMV has been working in New Zealand since 1999 in oil and gas exploration, production and development. OMV New Zealand Ltd is a NZ-registered company, with approximately 90 staff in Wellington and New Plymouth. OMV NZ developed and operates the offshore Taranaki Maari Field (commissioned 2009). OMV is awaiting regulatory approval to take over the Shell-operated Maui and Pohokuragas fields, also in Taranaki. OMV is also operator of 7 exploration permits in the Taranaki, East Coast and Great South basins.

Responsible business behaviour is crucial to OMV hence the reason why they have been involved with so many community lead projects.

The presentation went very well and the general feedback was really positive.

A&P Show expo

The ‘Farming with Technology Expo’ once again seems to have attracted the rain and lots of it! This year, the novelty was a display on alternative water supplies set up by Go Water from Wairoa. This system allows water to pump out of a stream with a 12V submersible battery connected to a 28KW solar panel. There is no battery involved and the switch stops the pump when the tank is full. The head for this pump is only 3 meters but a wide range of products are available. This innovation should help farmers make better decisions when it comes to fencing off their streams and managing their stock water supply.

The other innovations were the Manson’s tree protector developed by Peter Manson in Wairoa. This protector allows the establishment of a range of trees including native trees in a farmed environment. This is a revolution for the sector and a break through in terms of tree establishment on farms. Farmers have now more options rather than just the traditional poplars and willows.

The flood fence is another good on farm innovation, see the photos for more details but it allow the fence to be self dismantled during a flood event and easy to rebuild afterwards.

 

Water monitoring on the Whangawehi

On the 6th April, Arthur Bowen carried out his bi-monthly water monitoring run throughout the catchment area.  Water levels had been running low throughout April so despite the creeks running clear, in sunny places algae growth was quite strong and not very appealing.  In the forest, we came across protected culverts and retaining structure (debris dams)-well done to Graham Douglas for all his hard work.

As we were driving past the White Pine Crossing, we saw a Kahikatea tree with berries on it so stopped to collect the seeds for Ngaire Pasma.  Ngaire grows trees as a hobby and is delighted to help the group grow Kahikatea plants.

As we were driving along the first planting on Taharoa, we stopped to appreciate the rapid growth of plants.  At the rapids, the algae growth was strong, water temperature was around 20 degrees and still warm.  We also checked for any signs of White Bait spawning  but didn’t see any activity.

 

Mahia Pest Free community meeting 14th of April at Tuahuru Marae

MAHIA peninsula could be an ideal area for a large scale pest eradication programme says the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council. In 2016, the government proposed a $28 million project-to make New Zealand predator free by 2050. The project was aimed at ridding New Zealand of possums, rats, stoats and other introduced species to help the goal of predator free New Zealand become a reality. Hawke’s Bay Regional Council manager land services Campbell Leckie said achieving this goal would deliver huge benefits across the country, particularly to threatened native species. “Due to its isolated geographical configuration, the Mahia peninsula could be an ideal area for a large scale pest eradication programme,” Mr Leckie said. “Back in the 1990s, a project involving a predator fence didn’t get enough community support to get off the ground.”

The regional council has been involved with pest control in Mahia for many years and has organised a series of community meetings. Mr Leckie encouraged feedback from the community about a pest free Mahia vision. “The meeting will discuss a range of elements of a potential pest free project including pest control techniques, community benefits, funding and the importance of community support. “One potential funder from a petroleum company OMV NZ Ltd will be present to discuss their interest in participating in the project, should it proceed.” Mr Leckie said the Mahia pest free project was an exciting opportunity for the community to be involved in a cutting edge ecological restoration project. “It can only work if local landowners, Hapu and Iwi participate in, show leadership and help shape the direction of a Pest Free programme.

“This is an opportunity for locals to leave an impressive conservation legacy for future generations to come. Come along, ask your questions, air your concerns. Bring your family and whanau. Hot drinks and finger food will be provided.”

The first meeting will take place on Saturday April 14 from 9.30am-12pm at Tuahuru Marae for the Rongomaiwahine Iwi Trust.

The second meeting will be open to the wider community and will take place on the same day and at the same venue from 1-3.30pm.

Suzi Lewis

Journalist

The Wairoa Star Ltd

 

School workshop on rocky shores

On March 28, Te Mahia school pupils headed off to Auroa Point at low tide to investigate the diversity of life on the coast near Whangawehi River Mouth. Identifying the names of various sea stars, crabs, seaweeds and other creatures proved challenging but engaging. On the grassy bank, they completed our recording sheets. Back at school the seniors heard about how much more there was to be found and the density of kaimoana 30 years ago compared to today. They prepared to graph their findings.

The juniors realised that there were a lot more different creatures in the rock pools than they expected. They made salt dough animals and seaweeds, focusing on features like number of legs etc. The workshop will be extended at school in the next few days. Well done for your mahi.