March 2023 Newsletter

March 2023 Newsletter

There were 4 volunteer trips to Motuihe during March with 201 volunteers involved and 21 Trust leaders. 197 trees were planted.

The next volunteer trips are:
Simon's mid week trips April 11th, 13th, 28th. contact Simon on
Because the Sunday trips rely on The Red Boats and The Red Boats need the wharf, there will not be any Sunday volunteer trips until the wharf reopens.

25 Year Celebration
In 2025 the Motuihe Trust will have been working to restore the island for 25 years. At the March Trust meeting an event to celebrate this milestone was approved. By 2025 the bulk of the planting will be completed with only infill planting with specific canopy species and introducing rare plants sourced from other locations still to be done. The event will be on the island with the focus on giving the many, many people who have made this project a success the opportunity to see the progress that they have contributed to. No date has been set yet but probably in November 2025 on a Sunday. You might even get to enjoy one of those sausages Motuihe has become known for! If you know of someone who was a regular volunteer in the past but is not on the mailing list for this newsletter, please ask them to send me their email address to info@motuihe
Fiona Alexander 

Ruru (Morepork) visits the woolshed
Two kiosk operators, Fiona and Rachel, shared the woolshed with a Morepork.

Planting starts early on Motuihe
One positive outcome from the huge amount of rain that Auckland received over the last few weeks is moist soil on Motuihe, enough moisture for planting to begin. On 31 March 197 trees were planted, a very early start for this year's planting season. 


Thursday 9th March Dreamweaver Trip
WSP is now a regular contributor to volunteering and another 52 of their team came out on the Dreamweaver in perfect 'working' conditions; not too hot, cold, windy...High tide saw us tie up at the block where Greg met us with the tractor. He took a team 'down south' for moth pod collecting while Graham, Dave and Simon took a weeding team through the gully above the Tieke track down to Kohekohe corner.  Phil led a seed collection team stocking up on various species. After lunch, swims, walks and weed spotting, we used the barge ramp for the tender runs back on board. Another successful day with happy volunteers all back safely to pier Z.
Simon Sheen

Tuesday 14 March Dreamweaver Trip
The Inzide visit is a highlight of the midweek visit calendar, not least for the excellent catering. Employees, customers and suppliers of Inzide numbered 52 and with an advantageous high tide we got off at the block. 
Phil reported from the nursery:
Seeds, led by Jill, were sown---large numbers of kahikatea,whau,karaka, puriri and kanuka
                                             --- smaller numbers of kaka beak from Calypso Bay and the first 4 kahikatea seed ( 4 ) collected  from trees that were themselves raised on Motuihe 
Further kanuka and some taraire remain out in the field and need to be collected

  • Ann Hatherly put in a solo performance weeding the kaka beak in pots, training their stems along the wires and checking the watering system.
  • The balance of the team retrieved useable soil to carry us over while DOC are unable to deliver
  • The pohutukawa were checked for myrtle rust and weeded. Fortunately nothing was seen.
  • Kahikatea were weeded and their condition was checked for summer stress. All good there.
  • The plastic sheeting under the kaka beak pots was swept and the leaves and sticks removed.

Meanwhile out on the island John took a group of weeders towards Billy Goat point on the tractor for weeding and track clearance.  Greg and Graeme went south to Ohinerau with a weeding team while Graham and Simon cleared weeds from the top of the Tieke track through the bush to the Tieke extension track and further down the gully.
Highlight of the day (other than the ever wonderful catering) was Bianca's 5 year old son reassuring Graham in the bush that he shouldn't worry 'just follow me'.  Brilliant.
Glorious sunny day, great group, top trough and a comprehensive beach clean to finish.  We tendered from the block and enjoyed a summer's day return to pier Z.
Simon Sheen

Inzide group cleaning Wharf Beach Photo Simon Sheen

Inzide group photo Simon Sheen

Thursday 16 March Dreamweaver Trip
Nearly 40 volunteers from Avanti finance and BNZ took the Dreamweaver and, arriving at low tide, got onto the island at the barge ramp by tender.  Greg, Graham and Simon led a team down to Ohinerau, via the paper clip, to collect 6 or 7 bin liners of moth pods, Liz led a group on the Tieke track picking out juvenile moth and spotting Tuatara.  
The weather was kind to us; not a drop despite the mixed forecast.  All had a great lunch, the odd swim was enjoyed, the beach given a plastic sweep and, after the tender again from the block, we all got back having enjoyed another excellent day.
Simon Sheen
Tasks---weed and consolidate top two bays in B block. Sorted Ake ake, Kawakawa,koromiko, Pohutukawa, taraire,Rewa rewa and coastal mahoe. Pulled out 3 tawa for rebagging.
Seed collecting---taraire crop almost non existent. Second harvest of kanuka.
Fixed broken mainline in kaka beak pots.
Next visit ---finish sorting B block. Sow kanuka,koromiko and taraire. Bring across shade house plants for hardening off.

Simon Sheen/Phil Francis 

31 March Dreamweaver Trip
57 volunteers from Southern Cross, KPMG, IBM and Accenture set off in near perfect conditions for a barge ramp landing via tender.  Most of the supervisory team went out on the DoC boat.  John set off with a KPMG group to start this season’s planting: 197 in the ground near the Trig with Colin and Kath circling the area with weeders.  Lois led an enthusiastic Southern Cross track clearance team down towards Snapper bay with Phil sorting out some weeding, failed seedlings etc with a small group in the nursery.  Graeme, Mike, Graham and Simon headed off with Greg to the far end of Ricoh valley and had a pod hunt (successful).  Some of the volunteers had lunch at the historic gun emplacement overlooking Ocean beach. Wonderful to hear so many expressing their long term commitment to conservation.  We make a huge difference to many lives and the long term future of the island.
A beautiful day ended with swimming, Tuatara spotting and enjoying the ‘goldilocks’ weather.  High tide meant a block walk onto the Dreamweaver and a glide back home safe and sound.
Simon Sheen


Southern Cross team clearing tracks (photo Lois Badham)