June 2023 Newsletter

June 2023 Newsletter


There were 4 volunteer trips to Motuihe in June involving 194 volunteers, 25 Trust leaders and 435 trees were planted. 

Operations Manager appointed
The Trust has appointed Jill Soufflot Operations Manager for the Motuihe Project. We welcome Jill to this new role and look forward to working with her.

Mid week trips half year report for 2023
Fourteen successful trips encompassing 34 groups totalling over 650 volunteers.  That is a fabulous effort in the teeth of Cyclones, no scheduled ferry, atmospheric rivers, damaged wharf….. Worth noting that had all the trips gone ahead we would have taken over 900 volunteers out. These figures don’t include Trust supervisors/leaders.
So certain people have to be called out as they are the foundations of these midweek trips:
Stalwart contributions from Phil F, Jill, Graham, Lois, Colin, John and the tremendous help of Dina, Frances, Dave, Elizabeth, Mike, Di, Peter, Kath, Phil S….the list goes on.  A special mention for Graeme S who had helped so much by taking out leaders from OBC and, of course, Kirsty and Paul on the Dreamweaver.  All vital to the cause, as is everyone who gives their time to the project. I’m sure you’ll be glad to hear that we get universal praise from groups that come out.  For many this is a unique opportunity to not only experience native NZ bush but make a material contribution to its regeneration.  We shouldn’t underestimate how powerful that can be.  The fact that we provide this and get through a power of work is a wonderful advert for the Trust and the island. Just by walking around the island you can see the difference teams have made.  As I went up the track to Calypso the other day I heard and saw; Kereru, Tieke, whiteheads, Tui, Kakariki and a Bellbird - Happy days.
Simon Sheen

Wharf update
We have received an update from DoC and they are still on track to repair the wharf in July and to have it open to the public by the end of July.
On Friday 2 June a small group of people went to the island to make an assessment of the heritage value of the wharf and the surrounding area. Two were heritage architects and one was an archaeologist. They paid particular attention to the caissons (the two concrete blocks at the end of the wharf) as they date from the 1939 rebuild of the wharf. They also looked at the road, sea wall, wharf shed, railway line and the block (mole). They were contracted by DoC to inform DoC's decision about the future of the wharf. We look forward to hearing the outcome. 

The dpa architects team had found these amazing photos of the building of the caissons for the 1939 rebuild of the wharf. They are built on land then lifted into position. There must be quite a bit going down into the sea floor.. The bottom picture is 3 photos joined together, two of the floating crane and the centre is a diver. 
Fiona Alexander

Monitoring Programme
There is a comprehensive biodiversity monitoring programme on Motuihe led by Julie Thomson. Julie has trained up a dedicated team to monitor Kiwi, reptiles and wetapunga. They have also installed and maintain a network of cameras to assist with the monitoring. The kiwi call surveys are carried out overnight necessitating a stay in the woolshed. The hardy monitoring teams sit out in the bush in often cold and wet conditions and record every kiwi call. Later the records are compared to make sure there is no double up. Kiwi have spread out all over the island and seem to be thriving. 

Map of the kiwi listening stations

Moth Plant
Our volunteers do an amazing job of controlling moth plant, particularly Simon's mid week people. Thousands of seed pods have been collected and destroyed. If the seed pods are allowed to burst hundreds of seeds are released. My back lawn in Pakuranga looked like it had snow on it recently when it was covered in Moth Plant seeds blown over the fence from my neighbour's weedy property. We will never eradicate this invasive weed as the seeds will blow over to the island from Auckland, the best we can do is keep it under control. A big thanks to the weeding teams. 

Colin brings in 3 bags of pods. (photo Simon Sheen)

Thursday 8 June Dreamweaver
Finally a classic sunny, cool and dry winter’s day as the Dreamweaver arrived at high tide for a block tie up with 43 volunteers from Colliers and FNZ and 8 Trust leaders. Alas technical difficulties meant no tractor but that only offered the opportunity for Lois and Phil S to lead a track clearing team blasting down to Ocean beach from the top field, Colin, Frances and Simon to take weeders (pods galore) off the Snapper/Calypso track and Phil and Dina to organise 360 Karaka to be bagged up. David, on his swansong, produced a wonderful going away cake.
There was time for a beach clean, sun bathing and the odd swimmer before we headed home safe and sound after a lovely productive fun day.
Simon Sheen

Track clearing is tackling some quite large trees (photo Lois Badham)

Despite the hard work this group looks surprisingly cheerful (photo Lois Badham)

Sunday June 11th Dreamweaver
Surprise, surprise, a sunny calm day as we set off from Westhaven with 47 volunteers from arup group including 5 children. We don't normally allow children under 10 because of the hazards but these young children were very good and the parents did great job of keeping them engaged. The Trust had 7 leaders including Simon's grandson Jaxon. Using the tender we landed at the block. John and Phil went up to the woolshed to attempt to get the tractor to go which they did successfully. Apparently a faulty safety switch. The trailer was loaded with 254 plants including Totara, Pohutukawa and Kowhai and the full team went out to an area above Calypso Bay to plant and weed. In the afternoon the group put on a wonderful BBQ. The wind had come up in the afternoon but Dreamweaver came alongside the block so we all stepped ashore. A happy, productive day. Thanks to everyone.
Fiona Alexander

The arup group put on a wonderful BBQ.

We were fortunate to land on the block. You can see what a lovely day it was.

Wednesday 14 June Dreamweaver
Just about perfect weather, blue sky and a gentle breeze topped only by a small pod of dolphins spotted off North Head.  Teams from 2 degrees, ANZ, JB Were and BNZ (totalling 44) arrived for a day of track clearing, weeding and nursery work.  Phil and Lois led a track clearing team which opened up the end of the ‘river walk’ creating a tractor turning area for further infill/canopy planting.  Hot work!  Jill and Phil led a team which planted in the creek edge( away from the potential walking track) in the area approximately where H9c and H9d meet. Phil has named this project the Nectar Valley Extension. 91 canopy species went in including Kahikatea, Puriri and Kowhai. 
A beautiful day assisted by a high tide at departure allowed us to step from the block onto the Dreamweaver (with everyone on the bow to keep the propeller off the bottom) and all arrived back at pier Z safe and sound.
Simon Sheen

The team clears a turning circle for the tractor. (photo Simon Sheen)

Friday 16 June Dreamweaver Trip
Sixty outstanding volunteers with 5 Trust leaders would not be put off by a cold wet landing and heavy rain throughout .
Four tasks were undertaken. Lois led the track clearance, Colin and Philip the weeding where they collected 3 bags of pods in quick time. Phil took a hardy bunch out to Billy Goat Point planting. Back at base Jill oversaw the nursery work.
Planted out at Billy Goat Point: 50 Pohutukawa, 30 Cabbage Tree and 10 Puriri a total of 90. This brings our seasonal planting total to 1,462. 
Back in the nursery 330 karaka were pricked out. Added to the earlier batch that gives a total of around 700.
Phil Francis