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.
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.
On Tuesday the 26th of February 2019, Whakarae Henare from Nga Whenua Rahui came to Taharoa to meet with Sue O’Brien and discuss further work.
Whakarae explained that the new grant requires the land retired to be covenanted depending on the status of the land this can be either a Conservation agreement, a kawenata or a Management agreement. Whakarae had a look at the new project happening in the Mangatupae stream with 15 ha in the process of being retired and planted.
Thank you Whakarae for coming to our rohe and spending some time with us. I am sure you will be back soon. Nga mihi nui kia koe Whakarae mo te haere mai me to tautoko. Kei te tumanako matou ki te kite ano ia koe.
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.
In July 2018, Taharoa Trust was granted support from the Wai Maori Trust to enhance the margins of the wetlands fenced off in the early 2000. A total of 40 ha of rare ecosystems have been retired and are self reverting into native habitats. Some of these wetlands had issues with weeds (blackberry, gorse and pampas) and the goal of this project was to control them and establish back native plants over time. The spraying was delayed due to a wet spring which allowed us to establish 400 flaxes in a clean corner. We are now on track (see on the photos). This year’s focus is on Sue’s wetland located at the back of Sue’s garden. Through the WCM work, we are trying to reconnect these wetlands with the surrounding bush blocks and ultimately with the main Whangawehi stream. These habitats play a key role in filtering the water that flows from the farmland into the Whangawehi stream and at sea. They are also a nursery for a range of native species including fish, birds, insects etc. We want to establish a water cress patch on several farms to reconnect the people with traditional practises.
We will keep you posted on the progress made. We wish you all a Merry Christmas and happy new year. Kia hari kirihimete me te tau hou koa.
In November 2018, Suzanne Keeling from Beef and Lamb and William MacMillan from FOMA came to meet with Pat O’Brien in regards to a potential research project with the Whangawehi Catchment Management Group. Beef and Lamb current research project is based around 5 key themes;
– The concept of regenerative farming and what it means to the farming community
– Forage systems for the Hill Country.
– New land use classification system
– Community engagement looking at different ways of linking the hill country farming community.
The meeting went very well. Pat indicated that the concept of having research projects on the peninsula was really positive. He encouraged our two guests to connect with the local farming community to develop a research project tailored to meet their needs.
We will keep you up to date about this potential research project.