February 2023 Newsletter

February 2023 Newsletter

During February there were two volunteer trips to Motuihe, both mid week. 93 volunteers were involved with 11 leaders.

The next volunteer trips are:
Sunday trips:
March 12 and 26.
Contact Fiona on info@motuihe.org.nz
Mid week trips:
March 9,10,14,16,31.
Contact Simon on volunteermotuihe@gmail.com

Winter planting programme
We are hoping for a successful planting season this coming winter with infill and canopy trees. Phil and his team have been working hard to get the trees ready. The following are our Sunday dates. Simon will have mid week dates closer to the time.
April 16
April 30  (May 14 NO boats available)
May 28 
June 11
June 25
July 9
July 23
August 6
August 20
September 3 (if ground moist enough)
September 17 (if ground moist enough)
Please come out if you can to help complete the restoration project. 

DoC closes Motuihe Island
Because of the impact of cyclone Gabrielle, DoC closed access to the island during the week 13 to 19 February. The wharf was closed and also the camping ground. We were unable to open the kiosk or do any other work on the island. Over the weekend DoC staff carried out checks to make sure there were no safety issues. The campground opened on 20 February but the wharf is closed until a full assessment can be made. DoC's initial assessment across the island was windfalls, washouts and infrastructure damage. The volunteer house stood up well to the cyclone.

February a month of cancellations

What happened to summer? We had 4 volunteer trips cancelled, the kiosk has not been opened all this month and the wharf is closed. The only good news is that it looks like there has been very little damage on the island. 

Friday 10 February Redboat mid week trip
A team from the NZ Super Fund has been trying to come out for months; covid, weather, vessel breakdown....so it was a treat to have such a lovely summer's day for their team of 40, and a few from PwC, to head out on the Red Boat for a day of track clearing, weeding, nursery work, cricket and swimming.
To quote Phil:
A particularly good group of volunteers. Requiring the minimum of supervision with an excellent output. 
In the nursery, with Elizabeth's assistance I oversaw 456 kaka beak pricked out, 2 trays of kanuka and 3 trays of toe toe sown. 
We moved 200 rushes to the toilet block area and 350 totara across to B block.
Hand watering evened out moisture levels in the plastic house. With the storm imminent all irrigation except the plastic house was turned off. 
The first of this year's Spinifex, pingao and putaputaweta is moving. Stock for 2024.
Meanwhile Caleb (on his last summer weeder day on the island), John (via DoC boat), Graeme and Colin (on the former's boat) and Simon led the rest of the volunteers track clearing from Calypso to Billy Goat Point and out to the link with the Bay's link track.  Much improved access and any number of flowering moth + woolies cleared adjacent to the track. Top mahi. 
Another hugely productive day with yet more enthusiastic advocates for the island project. Phil was right to ask the Super Fund leader whether 'your team can come out every week'?
Simon Sheen/Phil Francis

Friday 24 February Dreamweaver trip
The omens weren't good when 58 volunteers set off on the Dreamweaver; trying to rain and heavy cloud cover. Miraculously the teams from Xero, WSP and Fuji hardly got wet all day with the heavens opening only on the way back. No wharf post Gabrielle so, being high tide, the Dreamweaver docked at the block. Lois led a Snapper bay track clearance team with Colin, Phil S, Frances, Greg and Simon recovering the Billy Goat Point track for tractor width clearance and adjacent weeds.  Phil and Jill, who arrived on the DoC boat with Colin and Lois, ran a nursery team bagging up about 150 Kowhai and 160 Wharangi along with heaps of weeding and various small jobs.  Once the BBQ lunch was completed and with the skies threatening, an early departure from the barge ramp using the tender proved a wise move. Bucketing down on the way home didn't matter with all back safe and sound.
Simon Sheen

Dreamweaver used the block to land passengers on arrival as the wharf was closed (photo Simon)

Passengers use the ramp to access Dreamweaver's tender in the afternoon.

Lois and team clearing Snapper Bay track. The manuka is an impressive height. (photo Hayley Clarke)

Fuji team went all out with labelled uniforms.