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.
Our March 2018 newsletter is now available with some exciting news, enjoy the reading by following the link : WhangawehiNewsletterMarch18
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.
The Wairoa Star Ltd
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.
Richard and Hannah Coops are proud ambassadors of Mahia. They have just won several Awards at the Balance Environmental Awards in the Bay. Well done.
The autumn is a good time to take landscape photos. The weeds are starting to dye off (some of them) and the trees show up more with the winters lights.
Our trees are growing all along the Whangawehi stream. Have a look at the photos used as monitoring evidences of the transformation we have been part of. Certainly a mark in the landscape to be proud of.
Rod Dickson from Hawkes Bay Regional Council recently visited Richard Coops on Okepuha Station. A few years ago Richard started off with a few traps but is now extending his network of traps. In the upcoming days, his traps will be GPSed and then loaded onto a cloud application “trap.nz”, a great reporting and collaborative platform. This will enable Richard to record trap catches from his mobile phone via an app or from his computer. These traps will be laid out around the newly restored/planted area where we hope to encourage more bird life to the area. Richard has already contacted to say that he needs more traps! Well done Richard.
The Taharoa team have decided to make the most of the low water levels in the Mangatupae stream by constructing a series of debris dams. The Mangatupae catchment is actively eroding and the stream bed has dropped by 3 metres over the past 30 years. The goal of the debris dam is to help stabilise and rebuild the stream bed by trapping the silt. This structure will be just one of the many tools used to reduce erosion. Last year, 2 bush blocks were fenced off and retired (5 ha). This coming winter we will attempt to fence off another 5 ha bush block with a fence line bladed to retire the stream.
Further up in the headwaters, a new soil conservation trial is underway with native trees protected by a new guard. Our hope is that all these tools will contribute towards finding a positive outcome for our freshwater quality and our biodiversity. Erosion control will be a long term battle so we will keep you posted on any further developments.
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.
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.