June 2024 Newsletter

June 2024 Newsletter

During June there were 7 trips to Motuihe involving 83 volunteers, 25 Trust leader trips and 252 trees were planted. 

Upcoming volunteer trips
Sunday July 21
We would really like help with this trip. There are a lot of trees to get into the ground this planting season and we would love to have your assistance.. Please email Fiona on info@motuihe.org.nz if you think you could help.
Sunday Aug 18 (FULL for volunteers)
Sunday Sept 15
Sunday Oct 20
Sunday Nov 17
Sunday Dec 8

Upcoming weeding trips
During June we've collected a significant number of moth plant pods, so we'll continue fortnightly trips to keep making progress against this aggressive weed.  Trips are free for volunteers, and are scheduled for July 3rd, July 18th, August 7th and August 22nd.  Please contact operations@motuihe.org.nz if you are able to help on any of these dates.

Fluttering Shearwaters
We're coming up to breeding time on the island, and many of our residents are starting to find mates for the coming season.  We're waiting for our fluttering shearwaters to arrive at Billy Goat Point, and hope to have more chicks being born over the coming months.  If you'd like to be part of the monitoring team over summer, please get in touch operations@motuihe.org.nz.

Wetapunga Release
On Tuesday 25 June a small group including 3 zoo staff, representatives from Ngai Tai and Ngati Paoa and 4 Motuihe Trust leaders released 70 wetapunga of various ages on to Motuihe. This makes a total of !,373 released to date. The life span of wetapunga is about 3 years. Many species such as owls, saddleback, tuatara to name a few find them delectable but females produce thousands of eggs to balance the mortality

Unexpected Wildlife on Motuihe
On Sunday 23 a group of four from the penguin team came across a seal basking in the sun. No one can remember a seal on Motuihe before.

Seal near SE beaches (photo by Maisie Hamilton Murray)

On the same day several people heard calls from Spotless Crake a rare bird. There must have been more than one so their numbers are increasing. Also a Banded Rail was spotted by one of our cameras. Another one of our field cameras captured a dispute between two penguins and a kiwi over the ownership of a burrow. The penguins won. It is all happening on Motuihe!


Rare plants trip Saturday 1 June
Bella guided Charlotte an archaeologist, around the sites chosen to plant the rare plants to ensure the sites have no archaeological significance. All the chosen sites were approved so as soon as DOC's sign off is received the planting will begin.

Lois managed to capture this close up of a beautifully coloured stick insect.

Laccaria fungi spotted on the rare plants trip (photo by Lois Badham)

Bella and Ben found this Pohutukawa with a broken branch. (Monica Cotter)

Weeding trips 5 June and 12 June
We've had 2 weeding trips in June - 5 weeders on 5 June and 5 weeders on 12 June.  There were another 6 who hopped on the Kakabeak water taxi on June 17th.   Lots of bags of pods collected and some entry ways cleared with the new pole saw.
Jill Soufflot

21 June house clearance trip
Our volunteer house, which has so many happy memories, was condemned by DOC several years ago as their engineer considered it a risk of collapse and also it is clad in fibrelite  which has asbestos in it. There have been many meetings and discussions about what the solution for the house should be and finally DOC decided to demolish it. We were given short notice to remove anything we wanted to keep from inside the house. A group of 6 went over on the DOC boat on Friday and spent a hard day removing the deck (will be repurposed behind the wool shed) unbolting bunks and moving heavy furniture. Stuart and Chris did a great job with cutting the deck into 3 pieces, Jill, Lois, Monica and myself saved anything of value and also managed to dispose of items in the woolshed by moving them into the house.
Fiona Alexander 

21 June Dreamweaver trip
After her May refit the Dreamweaver fair flew across the Gulf. On the year’s shortest day the weather was spot on; dry, calm and warm enough for T shirts in the field.  We had 42 on board with teams from Westpac, Inhabit, Actionstep and Zoetis, as well as Paulina and Tanu.  Lois kindly met us at the isthmus with the tractor and once established at the nursery it was planting and weeding.
Phil’s report:
On a cold but fine day a medium sized planting group headed across puriri paddock to find the creek that runs parallel to the Snapper Bay track. Doubts about ease of access were quickly dispelled and we planted moisture tolerant species either side of an old tractor path.
The path lined with 16 kahikatea, 30 small kowhai and 20 taraire may one day become a featured track with access to Snapper Bay itself. A further 20 puriri were placed on higher, more open sites. I estimate another 150 suitable trees will be required to continue up to 5 ways corner on  Snapper Bay track itself.
After lunch with the assistance of some of the volunteers lead by Jill B. and Dina we tidied up the pigeonwood. 160 are tonight fertilised with blood and bone and sitting under netting.
Colin, Frances, Ants, Paulina and Simon led a weeding team above the Tieke track from Whero corner up to the fallen Pohutukawa.  Bags of pods. It’s clear that moth has taken an iron grip on the island and it’s taking a Herculean effort to bring it back under control. The volunteers thoroughly enjoyed the gentle competition of collecting pods accompanied by Tieke, Kereru, Tui, Whitehead and the odd sparrow. The BBQ and kettle got a work out with lunch taken in the sunshine on the nursery ‘lawn’.
We were back at pier Z not long after 4pm, surely a record, with all on board back safe and sound.
Hopefully we’ll be able to organise another trip in the not too far distant. Such a great day.

Simon Sheen

23 June Red Boat Sunday Trip
The forecast for this day was a little frightening with heavy rain and thunder predicted and wind gusts of 30 knots. However, Andrew of The Red Boats thought it would be OK and so did a few marine forecasts and they were right. It turned out to be a calm day with no rain at all. The intrepid 28 volunteers who turned out despite the forecast were a dream team, hard working, keen to help and cheerful. Led by Bella and Lois166 canopy trees including Karaka, Puriri, Tawapou, Totara and Matai were planted. THE FOUR MATAI PLANTED ARE THE FIRST BACK ON THE ISLAND. They went into the  ground near the Trig intersection. The weeding team led by Vicky and Jill S in the same area could not find any moth pods which is a good sign, maybe we are winning the moth plant fight. The nursery team led by Doris did a great job moving 140 five fingers, moving and weeding scandia, pricking out 125 pingao and doing a general weed and water. A group of 4 leaders from the penguin team identified penguin burrows.
Fiona Alexander

The team load the trailer ready to go planting.

Bella demonstrates planting. (Lois Badham)

Mother and daughter plant together. (Lois Badham)