April 2021 Newsletter

April 2021 Newsletter


During April there were 2 trips to Motuihe involving a total of 22 regulars and 42 public volunteers.  645 plants were put into the ground, 45 of which qualify for the treesthatcount project. 

Motuihe needs your help. Please come out and plant some trees.
Now that the wharf is open The Red Boats are running a fortnightly ferry service on Fridays and Sundays. We have over sized plants in the nursery in desperate need of planting. If you are of average fitness, please give thought to coming out and helping to get the restoration project back on track. 
SUNDAYS: 23 May, 6 June, 20 June, 4 July, 18 July email Fiona on info@motuihe.org.nz
FRIDAYS: 21 May, 4 June, 18  June,  email Simon on volunteermotuihe@gmail.com

Standing water for birds
Standing water means water that is not flowing and does not dry up, ie ponds, pools, puddles. It is important to birds as a drinking source, particularly over our dry summers. On Motuihe we have the pond which was originally the farm dam. (photo above)  Although its level drops considerably from an average of 1 metre over its 1,400 square metres in winter, it never completely dries out so is a haven for our water fowl particularly the pateke ducks and the paradise ducks. I thought it was the only standing water but our summer contractor, Bella, guided me to the creek in von Luckner's bush. Although the creek was not flowing in April, it had a series of pools which do not dry out. Bella had seen a fish in one of the pools. Birds have been observed bathing in the pools. We are therefore confident that, at least with current weather patterns, the birds on Motuihe have sufficient access to water. 
Fiona Alexander

The top pool in von Luckner's Bush ie the furtherest from the outlet on Ohinerau Beach.

The next pool down the hill. The bush was so thick, I couldn't get to the lower pools.

Water supply on Te Motu a Ihenga
The Island is fortunate to have an underground stream accessed by a deep well. John thinks the well is about 15 to 20 metres deep. It is located in the valley above the eastern end of Ocean Beach. The diesel pump, which dated back to the navy days, used to be clearly visible from the track above. It is now converted to an electric pump run on solar panels and is hidden by trees. The water is pumped up to the four plastic tanks by the pond. Water is then gravity fed to the nursery, volunteer’s house, ranger’s house and public toilets. There is a storage reservoir at the wool shed fed by pumped water and also a tank at the ranger's house fed by water collected from the roof. Luckily the well is a reliable source of water, but in dry summers it can become very low and conservation strategies are required. Before Ronnie Harrison came to the island in 1984 the dam was built to add an additional source of water after a particularly dry summer and there were stock losses.
Fiona Alexander

Volunteers standing on the concrete top of the well. Photo: Fiona Alexander

Monitoring Programme
The monitoring group have been doing a great job checking the cameras spread around the island. There are several of the videos on our website under About the Island > Bushnell Camera Footage. Below is a link to one of the latest videos. 

Tieke Track Repairs
Following two very dry summers, Tieke Track surface has shown deep cracking in some places. If left for winter torrential rains, this would have impacted the formed surface more. With the excellent help from Steve Nelson in taking Jackie Rutherford and I out in his vessel from OBC, we tackled the repairs to the track.  
It was all done and dusted by lunchtime and we headed back home.  Thanks so much Steve for providing transport, guidance, tools and help. and thanks to Jackie for coming to work with us.  With a bit more trimming and drain maintenance, the Track should cope with whatever winter throws at us.

Lois Badham

Jackie Rutherford and Steve Nelson work on the Tieke Track. Photo: Lois Badham.

Water taxi trip 11 April
Although the 10th had very strong winds and pouring rain, Sunday was fine and calm. 12 volunteers managed to get to Okahu despite Tamaki Drive being closed due to a half marathon. This was a training trip for planting leaders to reinforce the protocols around planting on a DoC Treasure Island.  Also we are dealing with plants that have been in the nursery longer than usual and we have moved on to the last stage of the restoration programme, infill and canopy trees. Three planting sites had been identified by John and Phil, we visited two and drove past the third. Walking around the sites there was discussion on suitable places to plant and Chris Wadsworth was able to suggest the types of trees suitable for the location. Back at the nursery we looked at the accidental discovery protocols, how to extract root bound plants from their plastic bags and Wes led us through the use of GPS devices. It was a very useful day well planned by Hazel and Lois. We all look forward to a successful planting season. 

Tired but happy group of leaders heading home. Out of the picture is Phil and Chris, Stuart is partly obscured and Lois is the photographer. 
Mid week Dreamweaver trip 15 April
A busy day that left us all exhausted but a most successful day. 52 volunteers from Xero, Chorus, Turners and Growers, Movio and a few independents, who were divided into 20+ weeders and the balance were planters. It brought back good memories of the good old days when we had useful numbers arrive to work.
Both teams moved to Grid: G7 which is the eastern side of the valley above the far end of Ocean Beach. The planters were set the task to reflect the established cabbage tree / flax grouping on the other side of the open grass area ( indicated by weathered painted fence battens). Jill and Diana, while assisting with the plant preparation, were assigned the task of preventing folk from drifting out of the planting area.  Further along in the open space that used to be a fence line a grove of relatively closely spaced kahikatea was planted higher up. Effectively G7a was planted with 550 flax, 50 cabbage trees, 30 kahikatea and to break the pattern 15 puriri were added. Planting of that section is complete.
Meanwhile the weeders began their patrol. Mike reports that the planting area was totally covered and many pods were collected.
All that completed every one headed back for lunch ( time in the field was 10.45 till 1.30 ).
After lunch I used the large number of volunteers at hand to move plants within the nursery. There is not that much room in B block but we took what kahikatea and toe toe what we could, across.
Phil Francis and Simon Sheen
Enthusiastic planters and weeders set off for hard but satisfying work. Photo: Phil Francis

Phil explains the planting protocols. Photo: Simon Sheen