September 2019 Newsletter

September 2019 Newsletter

September 2019 Newsletter

There were 3 water taxi volunteer days during September involving 17 adult volunteers and 6 regulars during the week and 11 regulars on a Sunday. 370 trees were planted.

The next volunteer days are: The Motuihe wharf is presently closed for repairs/upgrade with no dates of when it will be back in use. Therefore all volunteers will need to land at beaches by water taxi or private boats. Water taxi trips are being arranged for groups of less than 11 passengers on an ad hoc basis. If you would like to volunteer please register your interest by sending an email to

Wharf and House update

DOC is waiting for a final report from the wharf engineer and in the meantime the wharf is closed until repairs/upgrade are completed. DoC has indicated that probably the wharf will not be available for ferries this side of Christmas.
The temporary buildings to replace the house have not been ordered as DoC are awaiting approval from Wellington.

Motuihe Ranger Resigns

We are very sad to hear that our Ranger, John MacKenzie has resigned and will finish up on Motuihe at Labour weekend. John and Caroline have been very supportive of the Trust, always willing to lend a hand. Over the busy summer they made a considerable contribution to the kiosk and guiding operation. We will miss their friendly and cheerful greetings. They have a property on Rakino and intend to retire there and enjoy their home and family. We wish them all the very best for the future and hope to see them as visitors on Motuihe. 

Keep positive!

Despite all our woes with the house and wharf closed and the ranger retiring, there is a rainbow over Motuihe telling us that the sun will come out and things will improve. 

Photo by John MacKenzie

Some things never change on Motuihe!
Problems with the wharf reported in 1930! It is interesting that the letter says "camps". I had always imagined the Health Camp on Motuihe to be similar to the Health Camp at Pakuranga. A permanent camp with permanent staff and children coming and going as their needs required. It seems there were several camps on Motuihe during the year so they came, set up, had the camp then left a bit like a school camp

Children at the Sunshine Health Camp. They do look very thin. 

The AED (defibrillator) has been attached to the front wall of the toilet block. Emergency services have been notified and the code for the box is C2017. If you cannot remember the code, dial 111 and give your location and the operator will give you the code.

Kakabeak thriving
This recent photo of kakabeak in the wild on Motuihe shows them dripping with blossom. 

photo by John MacKenzie

AUT Volunteering Expo

Lois and Phil spent a day at the Auckland University of Technology promoting Motuihe as a volunteering experience. They had considerable interest so when the wharf is back in action we hope to attract some young, energetic volunteers.

The reality of landing on an island without an operating wharf. Fortunately a perfect day.

Friday 13 September Westpac water taxi trip

The Gods are capricious and also mischievous. So it proved when the volunteer day of Friday 13th subsided from 5 groups totalling 60 volunteers to 4 Westpacers, Phil and Simon.  Even as the 7.30 am water taxi made its way from Okahu bay to pick up the Devonport starters they had one last trick to play; Torpedo bay wharf is closed.  So a slipway boarding finally saw us underway.
Alighting at the block the team was soon in-fill planting between the Ranger's house and the nursery.  15 Mahoe, 15 Puriri, 10 Kowhai, 10 Karaka, 10 Houpara, 10 Taraire and a few Totara are now safely in the ground. Morning tea, as the day warmed up, was followed by a general tidy up of the plastic sheeting in the nursery and then a seed and Tuatara hunt led by Phil.  This met with mixed results but did give the volunteers a good view of the island and the work of the Trust.
A small weeding expedition picked off a few woolies and mothplant from the trig point down to Taraire and then above the extension track.  Lunch was a nursery BBQ followed by some weeding of Kahikatea seedlings.  There was still time for a two sack beach clean of wharf beach before an Ocean Beach landing taxi ride back, all safe and sound.  A lovely day of pleasant spring weather, as ordained from on high.

Simon Sheen
Friday 20th September Water Taxi Westpac Trip

On a glorious equinox day we had 13 Westpac volunteers and 4 supervisors come out on two water taxis trips. Teams got on at Okahu and Torpedo bays with both using the block on the island.  About 300 plants went in north of the Snapper/Calypso link track.  Phil sorted out the nursery irrigation system with Jill and Jocelyn leading the seedling weeding jobs.  We even had time to weed the field south of the 4 tanks and clear a couple of bags of plastic rubbish off Wharf and Ocean beach.  The late shift had a good walk through Tieke with plenty of fauna on display. Return was a beach load from Ocean Beach and a swim/paddle/wade at the dark.  great day!

Simon Sheen
Sunday 22nd September Leaders' Work Group

A group of 11, mainly from the Operations Group and the Trust Board, left Okahu Bay at 8.30am on a water taxi and landed at Ocean Beach. A considerable amount of much needed maintenance work was completed. The kiosk was emptied (it is amazing how much stuff came out of that little building!) and the floor prepared and the first coat of polyurethane applied. The camera people walked the length and breadth of the island and replaced camera cards so we can have a good look at what is happening with the wildlife and check for predators. The Tieke track was sprayed for weeds, In the nursery 682 plants were infilled (meaning dead plants removed from bags and replaced with new plants), all the first aid kits checked and many other jobs around the nursery completed. Everything is looking very good in the nursery and on the island. John MacKenzie has done an excellent job with the mowing. 

Stuart and Wes spraying the Tieke Track. The third member of the team was the photographer, Lois. Keeping this premier track in good condition is a vital part of the island maintenance. 

Stuart and Denise sand the kiosk floor. As you can see, no machines in action here!