January/February 2020 Newsletter

January/February 2020 Newsletter

As you can see from the following, we may have a closed wharf and no ferry service, but there is plenty happening on Te Motu-a-Ihenga.

During January and February there were 3 mid week Dreamweaver trips with a total of 146 adult volunteers plus 17 regulars.

The next volunteer days are: 

Mid week trips organized by Simon using Dreamweaver.
Leave from Z pier Westhaven at 8.30am and return at approx. 4.30pm, $40pp return. Beach landing using a tender or, if the tide is suitable, using the block.

Thursday March 5th
Friday March 13th
Wednesday April 1st
Thursday April 16th

Contact Simon on volunteermotuihe@gmail.com


The Rock Reunion was a one-off get together organised for all those who served in HMNZS Tamaki on Motuihe Island, known as The Rock, during its period as a Navy training establishment from 1941 to 1963.  The reunion was aimed at bringing together those who experienced a unique time in their lives and the history of the RNZN.  As those who undertook their basic training on The Rock can attest, surviving the training was an experience that will never be forgotten. 
The response to the Reunion weekend turned out greater than anticipated with the evening dinner moving venues due to larger numbers registered.   Attendees (250-300) came from as far as Thailand, Australia and NZ Region wide.  Regrettably, a US registered attendee cancelled close to the event due to coronavirus concerns.
The barge carrying vehicles, trailer, equipment and attendees left Half Moon Bay on a beautiful calm Friday 14th after the DOC Biodiversity dog team had completed its pest check duties.  Considering the event date was selected approximately 15 months prior, they couldn’t have picked a better day - Motuihe Island looked a beautiful picture.  The barge pulled up to the ramp on Wharf Bay to unload the passenger vehicles which transported the less mobile people up to the headland with the balance of people having a beach landing on Ocean Beach and walking up to the Headland. 
The memorial service was short and concise with the oldest attendee 97 years of age and youngest ex-Navy attendee unveiling the commemorative plaque on the Headland followed by wreath laying, Ode of Remembrance, blessing from Padre Basset and the Chief of Navy Rear Admiral Commander David Proctor addressing the attendees with a humble and moving speech
From an outside perspective, it was an emotional day for some and a wonderful tribute to those who attended, who couldn't attend and those who are no longer with us. For some attendees, it will have been a shock if their last stay on the island was pre building removal however to hear Saddleback calling during the speeches was a beautiful touch.

Congratulations to John Mills and the Navy Reunion organisation team on a fabulous event.  We can appreciate the amount of work gone in behind the scenes with changes right up to island arrival.  The team should be proud of themselves.
Lois Badham

 Approx. 250 veterans land on Ocean Beach.

The 5 vehicles with elderly veterans on board landed at the ramp.

Chief of Navy Rear Admiral Commander David Proctor makes a speech.

HMNZS Tamaki veterans guard of honour.

HMNZS Tamaki veterans watch the proceedings.

The memorial plaque located at the site of the Navy flag pole will be on permanent display.

Wharf and House update

Below is DoC's official statement on the wharf printed in full.

Motuihe Wharf Closed until further notice

Motuihe Wharf has been closed due to safety concerns. An engineering report conducted towards the end of 2019 found that significant structural work needs to be carried out in order to secure the wharf and protect public safety.
Operations Manager, Scott Antcliff said “The Department is committed to re-opening the wharf to the public as soon as possible and recognises the importance of the wharf infrastructure to domestic and international tourism on Motuihe”.
Due to the complexity of the work involved; which includes engineering specifications, procurement and specialist contractor availability, it is expected that the wharf will be closed for an extended period. Once the Department has completed the plan for the program of work, we will update the public with an expected timeline for that work.
In the meantime people can visit the island privately at high tide by disembarking at the mole or by a wet beach landing.
“The Department of Conservation recognise that Motuihe is an amazing place and we are keen to get the wharf back in operation as soon as possible, both to support the great work of the Motuihe Trust and so more people can enjoy this beautiful Island on Auckland’s doorstep”.
Scott Antcliff, Operations Manager

Our fluttering shearwater chick, the first to be born on Motuihe in over 100 years, has fledged. Great to have some positive news!

Dreamweaver midweek trip 30 January
What a day; one for the ages.  Blue sky, 28 degrees, full ferry of volunteers from Xero, Westpac and Chapman Tripp.  In between the tender beach landing, swim back to the Dreamweaver, excellent BBQ, lounging on the beach.....we got through some work.  Phil is now the proud owner of 64 drip buckets (picture) which will hold the kakabeak once summer is done.  Once completed 170 cabbage seedlings were bagged up.  Callum and Graham (welcome back) led weeding teams just beyond the pine line above the Tieke track and south of Taraire bush.  I helped a gang at the base of the paper clip.  Many a moth met its maker as well as plenty of woolies and some gorse.  In truth it was too hot for heavy work and with the beach beckoning we all gave in.  Just a great day enjoyed by a variety of 57 volunteers
Simon Sheen

Dreamweaver mid week trip Thursday 13 February
If possible it was even hotter than last time - an absolute scorcher and the dry weather is evident with a lot of young trees showing real stress around the island.  For the 44 pax on the Dreamweaver it was however a splendid day.  We came into the block by tender and once assembled the groups from cbre, westpac and a host of smaller teams broke into: Jill leading a Tieke track drain clearance operation, Phil organising 221 Manuka and Kanuka seedlings bagged up, John taking two Zoo Weta experts around the island, Callum, Graham and Simon leading a weeding team south of Taraire bush, Liz was chief guide and Sustainable Coastlines doing a beach clean at the ramp and on wharf beach.  By early afternoon a swim was obligatory.  we picked up Josh, summer weeder, and swam, floated and tendered back off Ocean
Beach.  Stinking hot but another highly successful day.
Simon Sheen

Simon was so clever with the tides, he had the Dreamweaver tender going to the block both arriving and departing on the 21st.

Dreamweaver mid week trip Friday 21 February
On another spanking summer's day the Dreamweaver took 45 souls from Aecom, BNZ, BDO, Westpac close to the block.  We alighted via tender and split into:
Jill's group finishing the clearing of culverts on the Tieke track - just in time for Saturday's downpour.  On the way back they collected karaka and puriri seeds.
Phil, Liz and Claire supervising the bagging up of 25 Taraire, 220 Manuka and 150 Kahikatea.  Having time to shift dry plants to a better spray area in the nursery.
John, Colin, Graham and Simon (ably assisted by Josh) smashed into Ricoh valley.  The wrecking crew bashed down woolies, dealt to moth and collected a bag of new season pods.
The BBQ got a work out and then, despite the offer of a guided walk, the 28 degrees and hard work persuaded most to head to the beach for a swim - brilliant.
We tendered/swam back to the Dreamweaver from wharf beach and headed back to base happy to have enjoyed another summer's day making progress.
Simon Sheen