The WCMG Annual General
Meeting was held on Saturday 2nd November 2019 with the usual committee
volunteers in attendance. The Chairman
highlighted the main events that took place over the year. The main key points were:
15 ha retired in Mangatupae
16,000 trees planted, including
4 ha of native bush retired. We also
retired 2 ha wetland and established 6,000 trees during a well-attended
community planting day with over 50 participants.
15 ha retired on Pongaroa
Station including 5 ha of native bush and the creation of a new wetland.
We were one of the finalists in
the International River Award.
The development of an Easement
for the Walkway which will be finalised in January 2020.
Formalization of a partnership
for a research project led by Beef & Lamb based around regenerative
During the meeting the committee unveiled the
cabinet designed and built by Chris Wilson.
It is planned that the cabinet will be based at Mahia and house our
awards and trophies. The cabinet (waka)
will be displayed at various agencies over a period of time to showcase what
our groups’ collaborative efforts can achieve.
Last year’s committee was re-elected and we
look forward to the coming year’s projects and milestones.
Whangawehi Catchment Management Group almost took out an international river
prize at an event held in Brisbane on 22 October.
Whangawehi group was nominated as a finalist for the 2019 Thiess International
Riverprize Awards ceremony held in Brisbane, Australia.
Feedback from the judging panel indicated that the Whangawehi model was something unique and to be considered as an example worldwide. However, the group was formed too recently to base its achievements on decades of monitoring data. “This nomination confirms that the group is operating at an International level and that’s a great encouragement for all our Whangawehi community,” says Whangawehi project manager Nic Caviale-Delzescaux.
were rubbing shoulders with inspiring initiatives that show how integrated
river basin management can restore and protect rivers, wetlands, lakes and
estuaries,” adds Nic.
Whangawehi group was competing against two large-scale river restoration
projects based in America, the Chicago River Restoration project and the James
The James river project was awarded the 2019 International River Awards
acknowledging 40 years of active work and well-documented outcomes.
International Riverprize is
the world’s foremost award in river basin management. It recognises and rewards
organisations making waves in the sustainable management of the world’s rivers,
whether at the grassroots or transboundary level.
Previous winners and finalists have received widespread recognition, built new partnerships, shared their knowledge and won other awards following Riverprize, becoming part of a network of river practitioners and experts from around the world.
Well done to you all for your hard work, dedication and ongoing support
Jenni and Rae have been busy engaging with the school community. Here is a summary of the work they have taken part of. Well done and congratulations for your commitment to the cause.
This year, the school’s application to be a Predator Free School was accepted by Predator Free New Zealand Trust, sponsored by KiwiBank. Every year they select up to twenty schools to be part of of Predator Free Schools programme. This programme has a focus on teaching kids about what makes NZ’s native species special and how introduced predators impact their survival. It also encourages them to take collective action for the care of the environment. Traps, tracking tunnels and other resources are provided to enable successful programmes. Jenni has supported teachers this year through WCMG and Enviroschools.
Other Workshops, related to Kaitiakitanga, have included:
Bird surveys in the school
grounds and research about local birds. Related to this was a plant survey.
Tracking tunnels made and baited
to analyse what pests are visiting Te Mahia School. These were followed by
commercial tracking tunnels. Both showed that rats and mice are the predators
to deal to so far.
A bug motel constructed by
Juniors, to encourage birds in the school grounds, for a free smorgasbord.
about pests and predators and their effect on local birdlife and insect life. A
highlight related to this was the visit Bree and her handler, Helen, made to
the school, class by class. Bree is a Conservation Dog, trained to sniff out
Whio (blue duck). Helen showed how well trained and reliable Bree is.bree
modeled her various uniform garbs and Helen answered questions about why Bree
The years 4 to 8 students visited
Electric Village where they participated in a workshop about Energy – sustainable
/ renewable energy forms compared to forms of energy that contribute to Climate
Change or use non-renewable resources. They followed up in class during Term 3 with
Science learning on this topic. In November they will participate in the Great Solar
Cooker Challenge with other Enviroschools.
Making ruru (morepork) nesting
boxes, to be installed in Term 4 on large trees in the school grounds. The
students worked in house groups to produce their own ruru nesting box. They will watch closely next nesting season
to see if they have made it safe for ruru to feed at school and raise owlets.
The technology challenge is to decide how to install the boxes effectively on
the trees they have selected. One box is
destined for Whangawehi.
Other workshops have been focused
Tūrangawaewae are places and feeling where we feel especially empowered and
connected. They are our foundation, our place in the world, our home.
In preparation for
the School Gala clay tiles and magnets were created from clay. The children had
to make their clay work relevant to Mahia.
At Te Mahia School
there are six house groups which have been established at the school for a long
time. Over the years the significance of
the names of the house groups has been almost forgotten. The students have been researching the relevance
of their house group names ( maunga in the area), to them and their whanau, and
they are preparing to create murals in Term four for an outside wall of the
Tuia 250 is an
important aspect of the concept of Tūrangawaewae. Given that Te Mahia is the final visiting point (15 to 19 December)
for the Tuia 250 flotilla https://mch.govt.nz/tuia250 the students are preparing for this during Term 4.
A lot of work has been happening on Pongaroa Station with 20 ha of bush/stream retired and a 2 ha wetland reclaimed from the farmland.
A huge thank you to Bevan Farm Manager and his team for undertaking such a challenging work. The video clip attached below highlights the work done so far. Enjoy the viewing and don’t forget to subscribe if you want to receive our latest updates. Thank you
The field work regarding the Whangawehi walkway survey was completed on Tuesday the 8th of October. It took a couple of attempts to cover the full length of the walkway. The computer work can now start. A big thank you to Kevin Taylor from Survey Gisborne Limited and his team (Allan) for assisting us with this work. A big thank you too, to the New Zealand Access Commission for providing financial and technical support. We will keep you informed on the next steps.
On Wednesday the 9th of October, Georgia came to assess the site. She had been warned that a lamb had gone into the planting and that some trees had been nibbled ! The preference went to the Mahoe and the griselinia as well as the Five fingers. Most trees are recovering but some had to be replaced. The site is reasonably steep and hard so the next few months will be difficult and certainly a good way of demonstrating which specie can adapt to a hill country environment.
On Friday the 27th of September, Janice Edwards laid out our insect traps. This monitoring is done every year as part of the WCMG monitoring programme. It is usually carried out about the same time every year. Several sites are assessed every year and the information collected helps us better understand how the insect population responds to our large scale restoration programme. Insects are extremely important as they are the food source for a number of other species that we are hoping to bring back.
A big thank you to Janice for her commitment to this very meticulous work.
With spring on its way, it is good to look back and contemplate what we have achieved this winter. We can Pat the Taharoa Trust and the Whangawehi community for the amazing work done consistently winter after winter stream after stream. Well done to you all. Have a look at this clip and enjoy. I will edit an update on the work done on Pongaroa Station soon.
On Wednesday the 11th of September 2019, Helen Jonas and Hawaiki Walker from DOC went with Nic to the Whangawehi stream to carry out some white bait work. The spawning site was fenced off in 2014 but still remains marginal in terms of the quality of its habitat for white bait spawning. The hot spot is a short 100 m stretch of river where the fresh water mixes up with the salt water. White baits lay their eggs in the vegetation growing on the river bank during king tides. The eggs need to be exposed to the air to be able to mature.
Today, the team laid several hay bales and pegged them firmly to the banks. The idea is to offer a favourable environment for the fish to come back and lay their eggs. The river banks have been eroded over the years (due to floods and storms) and offer upright papa surfaces with no vegetation. We hope that this trial will be successful.
Local white baiters Nathan and Wayne explained that last year was an exceptionally good year for white bait. This year, fishing has started off fairly slow. Nathan was really impressed by the extensive plantings and explained that the water was cleaner and the fish more abundant. Having spent more time along the river recently, he has noticed more and more cats and stoats so we need to improve our pest control work.
A big thank you to Helen and Hawaiki from DOC for their help. Enjoy the photos and the short video clip