On Tuesday the 7th of May, Duncan Harrisson and Phil Hancook from Ministry of Primary Industries visited members of the Whangawehi project to talk about the Billion Tree Project. The scheme offers two avenues-one of which is the partnership pathway. This pathway is designed to increase planting by promoting innovation, research and workforce initiatives with the intention of scaling up native regeneration projects. Duncan and Phil visited several areas of interest and are now fully aware of the scale of our operation. A big thank you to Duncan and Phil for taking the time to meet with our landowners.
On the 30th of April 2019, Nick Beeby, General Manager – Market Development for Beef and Lamb came to visit the Whangawehi project. Nick presented the newly launched Taste Pure Nature brand. A very constructive discussion took place afterwards as the Whangawehi farmers are looking at branding their environmental work to leverage a premium. It is the early days but all farmers agreed on the need to have a strong Quality Assurance programme to underpin any brand. Nick provided advice and feedback on a number of farm related topics. A big thank you to Beef and Lamb and Nick in particular for making himself available to help our community.
On the 25th of March, Te Mahia School was preparing for the School Gala and the students decided to make clay products, such as fridge magnets and small pots, that would reflect the nature of Mahia. Jenny helped them to, create, using correct techniques, successful saleable items. The Room 2 items were colored and subsequently bisque fired in the kiln in town.
We also checked out how our Predator Free plan was progressing and the Landscape Survey results to date. Well done Te Mahia school.
Kirsty and Josh, new Managers on Taharoa Trust, welcome the wider community for a day out planting. The trees have arrived today and are looking exceptionally healthy and ready to be put in the ground. As usual, the Whangawehi team will dig the holes and lay the trees so that you just have to turn up and plant. There is a good variety of natives that will enhance the biodiversity of our catchment. A barbecue will be provided on site.
Please check for updates as the event may be postponed to the following Saturday if the weather is not suitable.
The site is at walking distance from the closer car park.
Site address : 1637 Mahia East Coast Road-
Date : Saturday 4th of May- 8.30 start, just turn up when you can. See you there.
Beef and Lamb is supporting a farmers lead initiative whose focus is around branding and leveraging funding from the environmental work done in the Whangawehi catchment. A first meeting was held on Okepuha station. Beef and Lamb funds a coordinator whose role will be to assist farmers in developing a vision and a set of goals. He will also bring in experts to inspire and guide. Peter Andrew from AgFirst in Gisborne will be facilitating these meetings with support from Nic Caviale WCMG project coordinator and Beef and Lamb New Zealand.
Pongaroa Station is undertaking a large scale restoration programme. This winter, 15 ha of land will be retired including two significant tributaries to the Whangawehi stream. These two retirement projects include native bush blocks that will be protected under a Queen Elizabeth covenant. The Top Wainui bush block will also be fenced off and protected. The level of protection around the Ormond bush block (by the woolshed) owned by George Ormond and Pongaroa Station will be improved with a deer fence being added on top of the existing fence. More work is planned in the Wai nui catchment so watch this space.
The Mangatupae stream is a short & steep gully system generating a lot of erosion and faecal contamination. Located on Taharoa Trust, the owners (Pat & Sue O’Brien) fenced off the lower reaches in 2016 but the upper catchment was left in the too had basket to take on at the time. In 2019, with the generous support from Hawkes Bay Regional Council and NW Rahui it was decided to retire the entire gully system. The fencer is currently in the process of building a conventional fence. The total area retired is 15 ha and includes a 5 ha bush block. The plantings will be quite different from the riparian plants established along the river. Sue O’Brien has taken a different approach and opted for a multi floral, bee friendly block with plants sustaining live all year long. Manuka, Koromiko and kanuka will be a nursery crop for larger species including Rimu, Matai, Kowhai, Riwa Riwa amongst others. Tree establishment will take place early June 2019.
The WCMG is preparing a
community planting day on the 4th of May on one of Taharoa’s wetland and all
volunteers are welcome to come and help. Located on the back of Sue O’Brien’s
garden, this wetland will be enhanced with the addition of 5000 plants.
A long reach digger was recently brought in to dig a few holes in the wetland in order to create an open water space. This will be important for our local biodiversity but our biggest hope is to attract birds. This wetland has been taken over by a native weed Isolepia that smothers the swamp. This new open water area should give other species the opportunity to grow and thrive again. Open water will also be extremely attrctive to ducks. These wetlands are a eel nursery for the Whangawehi river. We are particularly hoping that the rare bittern will be attracted by this enhancement work.
On Tuesday the 19th of February 2019, the Walkway team gathered at BJ’s Woolshed on Pongaroa Station to further develop the Whangawehi walkway. Nicola Henderson from the NZ Access Commission was there to guide us in the final steps of the project along with HBRC Open Space rep Anthony Rewcastle.
The group needs to seek permission from Grandy Lakes Forest before it can proceed. Discussions are well underway to make this happen in the next few weeks. The survey of the route will be the next step to deliver.