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
The regenerating Hill Country team wants to extend their thanks to the Whangawehi Catchment Management Group and all of the people who gave their time and hospitality whislt they were visiting in Te Mahia this week. Henrik, Katherine and Ang met with farmers, kaitiaki and agencies to learn about the work of the WCMG and the vision for the future of Te Mahia and surrounding Hill landscape. This work is part of a longer term project researching how best to future proof hill country farming and communities.
Henrik and his team will get back to us with a report /summary of their findings. Thank you all for your support.
On the 15th of August 2019, Georgia a Masters student from Massey came to establish 300 native trees as a trial on Pongaroa Station. Trees included : Mahoe, Taupata, Fivefingers and Griselina. This trial is part of a Beef and Lamb Research funded project sitting under the umbrella of the Regenerative hill country landscape. Georgia will be monitoring tree growth and nutritional value during the next couple of years. These trees are potential food source for stock if managed appropriately. We will keep you updated on Georgia’s findings.
The retirement of three gully systems on Pongaroa Station is nearly completed. Bevan Parker, farm Manager is embracing the Whangawehi Kaupapa and retired this winter the Top Wainui gully and 2 large gully systems tributaries to the Whangawehi stream bringing the total area protected to 20 ha. These retired areas will be covenanted under a Queen Elizabeth II covenant which will protect these blocks for perpetuity.
The Whangawehi gullies have been fenced off with support from HBRC, QEII and landowners contribution. A big thank you to Malcolm Rutherford and Kevin Jones who offered guidance around historical sites.
Well done to Bevan and his team for their dedication and commitment to protect our unique natural and historical heritage.
On the 11th of June, Fiona Clark from MPI visited the catchment to be more familiar with the restoration project and the walkway. Fiona was interested in better understanding where the walkway was, its connection with the DOC bush loop and the role it will play for the District.
Thank you Fiona for spending the time to come and visit us, we are looking forward to working with you more closely.
Between Friday 16th- May until 19th May Nic Caviale had the
privilege of flying to Rarotonga to meet with an environmental community
group based in Muri. Through the IRF River Foundation-winners are given the
financial opportunity to develop a relationship with a foreign country. The
objective is to share lessons and skills learnt and then mutually benefit from
this expertise which can create an opportunity such as restoring a river.
These partnerships are
an exchange of experience and skills based around personal relationships. IRF
assists by facilitating these partnerships and acting as a catalyst to help
partners with seed funding and match networking opportunities.
The Muir community is
based in the Takitimu district and is closely connected to the many waka who
gathered in the Bay before starting the long journey towards Aotearoa (New
Zealand). The strong Whakapapa connection found
between the Muri community and our Wairoa district is extremely valuable and
something we want to build on.
This part of the island
is going through rapid development due to the expansion of tourism. This
rapport expansion is happening without any major infrastructure upgrade which
heavily affects the environment in general. During my visit I saw how the
wetlands at the foot of the hills were disappearing and filled in to build new
hotel and shops.
These wetlands offer a buffer from heavy rain falls which not only delay the flow of water but also filter the water before it reaches the beautiful Muir Lagoon. Climate change is also affecting the island in general by creating more frequent high rainfall events. The rise o sea level is also a challenge for the Cook Islands in general . The challenge lays in finding the balance between the development of tourism, the upgrade of public infrastructure and the protection of water quality both in the fresh water and the lagoon. The Muri restoration group has always been proactive and we are looking forward to the possibility of developing this relationship further in the future.
On Saturday the 4 th of May 2019, the Whangawehi Catchment Management Group hosted a community planting day out on Taharoa Trust-a family farm owned by Pat and Sue O’Brien.
The day went extremely well with an overwhelming attendance of more than 50 participants ranging from the very young to the more mature folk! Gumboots were essential on the day due to the bulk of the planting been based around the periphery of a wetland. The highlight of the day was listening to the sweet violin playing by local violinist John De La Haye who set the tone with some invigorating Irish classics. The variety of delicious cakes offered by local ladies at lunch time also helped keep the momentum going.
A big thank you to all the participants-especially those who came as far as Havelock North and Gisborne to give us a hand. The group would also like to thank all our funders with a special pat on the back to the Wai Maori Trust who have funded a large part of this work alongside Nga Whenua Rahui.
Thanks to you all for supporting our community initiative. We look forward to seeing you again in the future.
The WCMG is working with the Sustainable Business Network to
fundraise money for our restoration project on Taharoa Trust. Our fundraising
goal is $60,000 dollars that will go towards trees, tree establishment and tree
maintenance (3 years after establishment).
In March 2019, a group of students from Gisborne Girls High School came to Mahia to walk along the Whangawehi walkway. Carolyne Rofe their teacher explained that the girls enjoyed their time despite the long grasses! They will be back once the walk way is permanently opened.