November 2023 Newsletter

November 2023 Newsletter

It is unusual to see Wharf Bay so calm at high tide. Lois took this photo on 21 November.
During November there were 5 volunteer trips to Motuihe and 1 cancelled trip due to weather. This involved 139 adult volunteers, 20 secondary students and 27 Trust leaders. There were also small groups of 1 to 3 volunteers going out to do specific jobs like fixing the tractor and repairing the irrigation system.

Treasurer position
We are looking for a person to take over the Treasurer’s duties on Motuihe Trust board.  This involves looking after the accounts on Zero, providing information to trustees, liaising with the auditors who prepare and audit the annual accounts, and generally keeping a watchful eye on the finances. If you are interested please contact John Laurence on 021 942115.
Kiosk Operators wanted
Do you think you could contribute to the Motuihe project by working in the kiosk? Basically you answer questions about the island and the restoration project from members of the public and sell ice creams to raise money for the Trust. Most operators go out for a weekend and stay in the wool shed over night. The Red Boat is free for kiosk operators. We are holding a training evening on Wed 6 December at 7 pm at the Outboard Boating Club which is on Tamaki Drive. If you are interested contact Jill on 

ACC Bio Diversity Monitoring
On 20 November the Auckland City Council plan to have a group of 4 on Motuihe for a day to monitor the forest bio diversity. They carry out this monitoring programme at regular intervals in several areas including South Head, Orewa, Omaha, Motutapu, Waiheke and Clevedon. It would be great to see the results some time. 

Rodent Surveillance
The Motuihe Ranger Emma Dunning sent me a report on a rodent surveillance visit to the island by 3 dogs and their handlers carried out by DOC on 16 October. The 3 teams covered the wharf, ramp, buildings, campground, nursery, tracks and beaches. They didn't find any signs of rodents. They did report how impressed they were with the condition of the forest and wildlife.

On Monday 20th November 30 fadge bags (big potting mix bags) full of rubbish were removed from the island by barge. The barge was at the island to return DOC's tractor. Getting rid of rubbish from the island is a real challenge.  
Emma Dunning (DOC Ranger)

It would be very helpful if every group on the island took back a bag of rubbish from the nursery. There are rubbish bins at Z pier. 

Sunday 5 November The Red Boat

After all the rain we finally had a beautiful sunny day. 30 volunteers plus 4 Trust leaders made progress on the track maintenance work. Half of the volunteers were from a group called CSIV. They are young teenagers and theirs is the only chapter of the organization in New Zealand. Their aim is to build global friendships and also to help the environment. They were a great group with lots of energy. We also had the dotterel group who saw 14 dotterels on Ohinerau Beach, there was also a group of 3 sorting out the nursery and Julie was on the island with a student doing work for the Trust. A lovely day, everyone enjoyed it.
Fiona Alexander

Friday 10 November Dreamweaver
Not the most auspicious start as the Dreamweaver sat with a flat battery at pier Z. The 47 of us from ASB, WSP, MYOB and a couple of foreign students sat in the sun and planned the day of nursery, track clearing, weeding and BBQ.
Lois: Track clearing team comprising of 10 ASB volunteers, Jocelyn and Lois cleared approx 30m Outbound track, mainly flax after feedback from the DOC Ranger Emma. Then on to Return track from northern end with more flax to cut back which had covered entry to track.  Cleared around 200m with approx. 80m left until we join up to the cleared track completed 3 wks ago.  Huge plant growth over the last 12 months.
Another great team to work alongside with an excellent attitude. Solid progress achieved.
Frances:A lovely sunny day ‘in the office’ - perfect for attacking woollies and moth plants. We concentrated on moth at the end of the Tieke extension track, plus another successful beach clean after lunch - not quite so much plastic waste as the last time following stormy weather but still the usual suspects of straws, pegs, fishing line and lolly wrappers.  A few swimmers confirmed the starting gun for summer.
Phil: Meanwhile back at the nursery with the supervision of Elizabeth and Bernard we pricked out 330 five finger and 108 toe toe. An excellent team reward with a pre lunch task of tidying the flax in the toilet block.
So another wonderful day with home to pier Z all safe and sound.

Simon Sheen

ASB track group with supervisor Joceyln (photo Lois Badham)

Friday November 17 Dreamweaver
We set off on the Dreamweaver on time (!) with 47 onboard mostly from AECOM with a couple of foreign students (back for more as they loved it so much the first time). Jill, Phil, Frances, Chris, Simon and Dina (welcome back and great to see you on the island) arrived after Lois, Guy and Claire hitched a Doc Boat ride.
Phil: A different day. No pricking out or rebagging.
With very little empty space available in either the shade house or B block and most of the seedlings pricked out our attention turned to weeding and tidying the kaka beak area. A second group worked through the toilet block re-laying the plastic and weighing it down. A quick check of the knobby club rushes took us to lunch time.
That was it. Useful tasks which on any other day are missed due to the priorities associated with plants and seedlings Next visit it will be weeding among B block and the shade house.
A pleasant surprise to see Dina after a spell away. Dina's task was to label the individual kaka beak rows and the buckets.
Earlier in the week Chris had replaced the tractor PTO cutout switch. The tractor once again starts with the mere  turning of the key.
Thank you Jill B., Dina Chris and Claire
Lois: Returning group AECOM worked extremely well and were great to work with.  OBC Member Guy Pierce joined the team as well. Thanks Guy for your hard work.  The Return Track is now finished.  The track down to the Pump Station is now also completed including the track from the Pump Station up to the Snapper Bay intersection.  Approx 300m of track cleared with a few minutes to spare to enjoy Snapper Bay.
Weeding: Frances headed north and Simon south. Frances cleaned up the campsite area including the 2011 RWC planted zone. A few AECOMs came out to the moth infested area just beyond the end of the Tieke extension track. Plenty more work to be done there…..
AECOM enjoyed their lunch so much they felt compelled to play touch and cricket on wharf bay beach. They clearly enjoyed themselves, got through some work and we’ll no doubt see other teams from them again.
Beach clean: The southern beaches had a bit of a clean; no end of plastic etc and Frances and Dina ‘did’ wharf beach. Every tide brings in more plastic tat but we’re fighting back.
Pleasant run back to pier Z with all who went out returned safe and sound.
Simon Sheen

The AECOM group that worked with Lois on track clearing.

Tuesday 21 November Dreamweaver
Sun from start to finish. A hot day with the promise of summer saw 53 on the Dreamweaver. Teams from BDO, Spark and Electric Kiwi went out with Phil, Jill and Simon to be met by Graeme and his crew of Lois, Chris and Monica.
Lois: A great team of 15 BDO and Spark volunteers did another excellent job of cutting back the Snapper Bay to Calypso track. This was an area that the DOC Ranger Emma had mentioned requiring a tidyup and would enable the DOC tractor better access for mowing.   300 metres cleared with approx 100m left of this track to complete and then the Calypso Bay access track is to be worked on. The team appreciated being able to see the area cleared and then mowed. 
Phil had a quiet day in the nursery awaiting a soil delivery. A small group tidied up, pricked out and weeded B block. The rising thermometer meant a swim was more important than further nursery work.
Graeme and Simon took a team out to the south side of Bald Knob. The moth on the slopes are shocking and will take a number of visits to bring under control. Also took out a few woolies with one monster winning ‘Catch of the day’. Beach cleans down south and on Ocean beach yielded the usual horror story of plastic. 
A pleasant, warm glide home on the Dreamweaver saw our happy and tired volunteers reach pier Z safe and sound. After which there was a small shower!

Simon Sheen

Sunday 26 November The Red Boat
Cancelled due to high winds.

Saturday and Sunday 25 and 26 November Bird Count
We ran our first all-species bird monitoring trip this past month, with a delightful group of volunteers making their way around the island counting birds. It is hard to visit Motuihe without seeing some of our feathered friends, and translocated species such as kākāriki, popokōtea/whitehead and tīeke/saddleback are now commonly encountered. Doing official bird count monitoring helps the Trust build a picture of how the different bird species are doing, which parts of the island they might be using more or less and how this might change over time (especially as the bush grows). 
So far the results from the count seem to show tūī and popokōtea/whitehead are the most common and widespread birds on Motuihe. It was nice to hear the korimako/bellbirds popping up in a few different places too! We had a particular treat on the Tīeke track where the first pohutukawa of the season is flowering - with at least 40 tūī in it at any one time. 

Bella Burgess
Below is a selection of the lovely photos taken by Benj Brooking who was part of Bella's team. A Kakariki, Tieke (Saddleback) and Popokotea (Whitehead).