On Saturday 16th of February, I had the pleasure of driving Sophie Dodd, Rae Te Nahu and Toria Te Nahu to a blessing ceremony organised by Mangaharuru Tangitu Trust. The day went extremely well with the unveiling of a Pou Whenua and the blessing of a funeral site for birds. The WCMG attended a similar event in 2015. It was good to see the project progressing well with birds returning to the colony. Maybe one day, a similar project could take place in the catchment.
On Thursday 13th February 2019, Sir Michael Fay, owner of Pongaroa Station agreed to work with the New Zealand Access Commission to create (along with other landowners) the first official walkway in the catchment. Michael Fay joins Pat & Sue O’Brien who signed on in 2017. Well done to you all. This is a significant milestone in our development and we will keep you up to date with developments as they happen.
On Friday the 8th of February, Jamie and Rachel from Hawkes Bay Trail Run visited the Whangawehi to meet with landowners and discover the unlimited possibilities available in terms of tracks and run options. The catchment offers a balanced variety of contours amongst farmland, forestry and coastal cliffs. These sceneries are unique and one of the best in Hawkes Bay. Keep the trail run in mind and when the dates are organised we will let you know. A big thank you to our landowners who have opened their gates and offered their time and support to this event. The WCMG is continuing to raise awareness around the importance of protecting our waterways. The run will showcase what farmers can do when working alongside Marae, school and agencies. Participants are encouraged to join the team for our upcoming planting weekends.
On Wednesday 30th March, local landowners got together to talk about a potential up and coming Hawkes Bay Trail Run that could take place in the catchment over this winter running season. Pat O’Brien, Josh Rofe, Bevan Parker, Mark Bowen, Lindsay Robinson & Nic Caviale were present. The discussion went really well and all the landowners were happy to come on board with the concept. This is just another vehicle to promote the Whangawehi story to the wider district. Will keep you up to date with events as they happen.
Pat O’Brien and Farm Manager Josh Rofe were happy to see Trevor Telfort (our local earth moving contractor) back on Taharoa Trust to blade the fence line for the Mangatupae restoration project. The Mangatupae stream is a highly erodible short and steep catchment. The lower reaches have been already retired with 2 bush blocks but the upper catchment was a challenging beast.
In order to retire the stream, Pat had to retire a substantial amount of land. The stream retirement includes the retirement of an existing bush block of 5 ha. The steep land that will remain grazed by stock is currently being planted with native trees used as soil conservation trees.
The work done will be used to showcase best practise in a steep hill country environment.
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.
The monthly check at Whangawehi went well. Water levels are dropping in the main Whangawehi stream and tributaries. Water temperature is high especially in the lower reaches. Algae dominate some of our sites which happens every summer. Over time, the shading effect from the trees will allow the water to cool down and restrict algae growth. Tree growth is phenomenal, Malcolm did a fantastic job at controlling blackberry so the place looks amazing.
On the 5th of December 2018, Ken Orborn signed the Whangawehi Conservation Management Agreement. A big thank you to Ken and the new Forest Manager Lindsay Robinson for embracing our Kaupapa.
This document will give confidence to our sponsors that the investment they have made will be protected for 25 years. The entire restoration area at Whangawehi is now completely convenanted (65 ha in total over 4 estates)
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.
Back in early November 2018, Janice Edwards and Pat O’Brien laid out our insect traps. This monitoring is done every year as part of the WCMG monitoring programme. It is usually carried out about the same time but due to weather-sometimes the work is delayed. This year we have observed an increase in the number of families captured (7 families have been recorded this year) which is encouraging. The family which was most represented was the Dipterae (flies and mosquitos).
It is encouraging to see that the young forest growing along the river is now increasing the local biodiversity providing a food source for all sorts of creatures. A big thank you to Janice for her commitment, time and patience for a very laborious task of counting large numbers of very tiny bugs. The information provided is extremely valuable as it demonstrates the beneficial change generated by the project overtime.