The senior class at Te Mahia school hike up to the Whangawehi shelter for the first time.

With some careful planning & preparation, the senior class finally set off for there first visit to the Whangawehi shelter on the 28th February 2018.  Initially this visit was planned for November 2017 but had to be postponed as it was rained out.  The weather was perfect for an hour’s hike over O’Brien’s farm this time round, with two vehicles bringing up the rear, carrying SHMAKs and other resources. At the shelter we split into two groups. The boys headed down to the stream with Arthur and Jenni and two dads. Testing the stream was interesting, though few creatures were found – plenty of snails in the algae and a few worms were. 

The water was clear. Meanwhile the girls were investigating the difference in the 8 cultivars of harakeke growing around the shelter. The groups then exchanged places but this time the stream group went to a stonier site and found at least 15 inanga hungrily feeding on grasshoppers who had leapt to their death into the stream. More invertebrates were discovered there under the stones.

 The hike back was a challenge for some, but we all arrived back at school cheerful and with a great experience to share.  We look forward to the Rocky Shore field trip planned for March.

The Coops are finalists at the Ballance farm environmental awards

We are wrapped for Richard and Hanna Coops from Okepuha Station who have been nominated as a finalist for the East Coast section of the Ballance Farm Environmental awards.  Last year the Coops committed to an extensive planting programme which involved retiring and fencing off large chunks of their land.  Both of them have indicated that they are keen to undertake further environmental work in the near future. Winners will be announced at the Ballance Farm Environmental Awards at the Napier conference Centre on Wednesday 28th March 208.  On behalf of the Whangawehi Catchment Management Group we wish them all the best at the ceremony.

Whangawehi Finalist at the New Zealander of the Year Awards.

NZealnaderofyearCertificateFeb2018IMG_1339IMG_1336On Thursday 22nd February, three members of the Whangawehi Catchment Management Group (Pat O’Brian, Arthur Bowen & Nic Caviale) flew to Auckland to represent the group at the prestigious New Zealander of the Year awards. These awards celebrate individuals and groups for the way they are making a difference to their communities and our country. The Whangawehi group had been nominated in the community section and progressed to the final three in there category. They were up against Pillars from Auckland and The Canterbury Charity Hospital in Christchurch.

Out of a total of 750 applicants only 18 groups were invited to the finalist awards. The venue for this year’s ceremony was held at the 5 Star Cordis Hotel in Auckland where 800 invited guests were entertained and wined & dined.All guests enjoyed the powhiri performed by Cloralation, a multi award winning combined choir from Westlake Girls and Westlake Boys High Schools. An impressive opening welcome was presented by Kiwibank New Zelander of the Year Patron, Rt Hon James Bolger. TV One was covering the event live and Pat, Arthur and Nic all remarked on how prestigious the event felt. The three members got to mingle with all the other guests during the pre-function cocktail party and were impressed by the quality of food served during the three course ceremony meal.Presentations of each of the six categories were given from a variety of established and well known figures throughout New Zealand.

Unfortunately the Whangawehi Catchment Management group were not winners of the community section this time round and instead that honour went to the Canterbury Charity Hospital. A worthy recipient who provide free medical treatment to people who don’t fit the criteria for public health system or who can’t afford it otherwise. The Prime Minister, the Hon Jacinta Ardern presented The New Zealander of the Year award. This year it couldn’t have gone to more worthy recipient, Kristine Bartlett. A face for caregivers in the aged care sector who shocked the country when she won a landmark equal pay victory for them.

Nicolas Caviale-Delzescaux, project manager for the Whangawehi Catchment Management group states that “it was an honour to be the only environmental group at these awards this year”. These awards help raise the profile of the group especially when the work they perform is in such an isolated part of the country.

The group already have a raft of national awards up their sleeve. Kathleen Mato, founder of the Whangewehi Catchment Management Group was the winner of the environmental section for the 2014 Pride of New Zealand awards. In 2015, Rae Te Nahu took away the Kiwibank local hero medal for her services to the group. Then in 2017 the group won the most prestigious environmental award for the country, The Green Ribbon Award. Currently the Whangawehi River is the only river in the Hawkes Bay district to be bucking the trend. Water quality is up by 15% (E Coli) and the group still have more ambitious targets to come.

Update on Okepuha plantings

A quality control check of plantings on Okepuha station has been undertaken. After a wet winter and a reasonably wet summer our native trees on Okepuha station have stood up in pretty good shape. Survival rate is estimated to be around 90% which is an excellent result.  Even the fence lines have held up over the wet winter and the station is looking great with the addition of the plantings. Richard and Hannah are enjoying their new environment and are keen to undertake further environmental work.



Pongaroa Station signing

We are delighted to announce that Pongaroa Station have signed the conservation management agreement.  This covenant agreement is an important way of protecting funder investment for a 25 year period.  Pongaroa Station are the third landowners to sign the agreement and significant in terms of their land size.  Pongaroa station have signalled their commitment to more conservation work by involving the QE2 Trust.  The station is currently investigating retiring and fencing off 40 hectares of native bush blocks around the farm with the assistance of QE2.  Watch the space over the next few years…

Mitre 10 New Zealander of the year

The Whangawehi Catchment Management group have been confirmed a finalist in the Mitre 10 New Zealander of the year awards.  Three members of the group will be travelling up to Auckland on February 22nd to represent the group in the ‘New Zealand Community of the year’ category.  The two other finalists competing in this category are; Canterbury Charity Hospital Trust and ‘Pillars’ based in Auckland.   The winners of each category will be announced this evening and the group are eager to take away top honours in this section for all the hard work put in over the years.  This award ceremony honours inspiration kiwis who have performed with distinction in their respective communities.

Pongaroa Station conservation projects

On  the 12 of December, Malcolm Rutherford from QE2 Trust came to Mahia to assess Pongaroa Station’s bush blocks. Bevan, Farm Manager, is interested in fencing off all significant bush blocks on the farm. In total 40 ha could be retired in covenanted in the next few years. It is encouraging to see the work done along the river extended in the tributaries and subcatchments.


Whangawehi on National TV

Sean Hogan from TVNZ came to Whangawehi to illustrate via a short video clip how small rural communities can address water quality issues.  Enjoy the viewing and well done to you all.


Species restoration plan

The Whangawehi Community has initiated a significant conservation initiative and the community is now willing to know what kind of bird species could benefit from those protected habitats. The report attached is a brief overview of the native wildlife restoration possibilities for the catchment and the necessary steps to follow to achieve them.

A big thank you to Tamsin Ward Smith and Kay Griffiths .

Enjoy the reading : Species Restoration Plan for The Whangawehi Catchment Area (Oct 25)