September 2022 Newsletter

September 2022 Newsletter

During September there were 9 volunteer trips to Motuihe. This is the highest number of volunteer trips in one month for many years.  837 trees were planted including Pohutakawa, Mahoe, Akeake, Puriri, Karaka, Taraire, Koromiko, Kowhai, Manuka, Kohekohe, Kaihikatea, Nikau and Rewarewa. 155 adult volunteers were involved with 46 leaders and 23 secondary students. 

The next volunteer days are: 
Sunday trip October 16 and November 6 and 20, December 4
Contact Fiona on

Midweek October 7 and 18,
November 4, 11, 18, 25 and December 2 ,9
Contact Simon on

Clematis, which would have been planted out a few years ago, providing a beautiful display for people walking by. (photo Lois Badham)

The guys are not playing games. John is demonstrating a KMZ file that is our grid reference system and can be loaded on to phones. When opened in Google Earth it enables the user to tap within a grid square on the phone for details of features on the island. 


Friday 2 September DoC boat plus private boat

A spring day in every sense.  DoC kindly took a group of 9 regulars on their boat with Graeme arriving under his own steam.  Jill and Phil led the nursery work which included rebagging 47 nikau, 72 totara all with added fert tabs - sterling work from Claire and Elizabeth.  Irrigation was checked, weeds sprayed, cameras maintained....a veritable 'spring clean' of all things nursery.
The 'boys' went surveying and weeding.  A John driven tractor trip to the SE beach identified a number of weeding areas for visiting groups and there was always time to deal with numerous rhamnus, moth and, inevitably: woolies. Hard yards from Colin, Graeme and Philip.
There was just time for John and Jill to dismantle the Island sign, just off wharf beach.  Well past its sell by date and now no more.
Finally a special thanks to Shelley Heiss-Dunlop, our go to botanical reference, who we see all too rarely. Shelley was on Motuihe to follow up on reported sightings of a couple of invasive species but spent some time with us. It was gratifying to show her rare plants grown from seed that she herself had collected. Foremost were the clematis, currently in full flower (see picture above), with the likelihood of a further 150 seedlings being bagged up this season.
Lovely spring day had by all.
Simon Sheen

Overnight trip by Camera grid Team September 3 and 4

Special thanks to Foundation North for monitoring funds and Westhaven Rotary for the new cameras which are recording such cool videos.
On Sunday, our “super team”, finished the camera adjustments, retrieved the wetapunga data and then contributed to the leadership and volunteer effort for Sunday’s Red Boat trip. Thanks team, please come again in three months time.
Four lucky members of our team had a great night’s sleep on our new bunk beds, -ceiling beams successfully avoided!
The camera cards did not capture any wetapunga, did capture lots of healthy kiwis, and less tuatara than in the summer.  A pair of penguins has taken over the burrow at Calypso from a single LSK.  The shear waters are going to and fro from at least 4 nesting boxes and were seemingly undisturbed by howling winds in July. There is still a reckless kiwi who ambles around the front of the shearwater nest boxes on the edge of the cliff.
After our evening meal and some gorgeous home baking, we poured a few glasses of wine and started the scanning of the 16 SD cards.  After 3 months, most of the cameras have recorded over 500 ten second videos when triggered by movement.  Our enthusiastic team carried four laptops to the island, so, for the first time ever, they managed to scan and record summaries for 12 of the 16 cards, before we all fell asleep. This enabled some of the team to make some necessary camera adjustments early on Sunday morning. 
With four groups, we managed to complete a full card swap and battery check for 16 cameras across the whole island.  After a late lunch, this efficient team headed back to Von Luckner’s bush and Disaster Gully to bait the wetapunga trakka tunnels ready for data collection the next day.  Don Macfarlane and Ben Goodwin at  Auckland  Zoo need a bit of data to help them plan the next release of wetapunga on Motuihe in the next month.
On Saturday morning, ten of our amazing camera team volunteers headed out to beautiful Motuihe on a very speedy, Auckland Sea Shuttle. The weather was kind, the only rain beating on the woolshed roof during the evening while we were busy scanning the camera SD cards.

Julie Thomson

Team:   Liz Bennet, Jackie Rutherford, David Waters, Julie Thomson, Cleone Guy,  
Jocelyn Service, Elaine Mead, Jill Soufflot, Riley Ellery, Christine Challinor

Scanning SD cards inside the woolshed.
Photos:  Thanks to Christine Challinor

Sunday 4 September Red Boat trip

Diego Barbosa, a volunteer on the Sunday 4th trip, sent in these lovely photos.

Sunday 4 September Red Boat Trip

Seven Trust leaders (including the injured Phil)   together with 21  volunteers, many of whom were members of the sustainable arm of Festival/Kiwiburn group, headed out on a beautiful day to Motuihe. On the island we were joined by some of Julie's monitoring group.
With the planting season drawing to the end, emphasis was placed on planting a variety of 30 plants already placed in the field plus 100 kahikatea. Planters and weeders armed with their tools headed out into the field. Whilst  great care was needed in  the placement of the trees the planting team did well bush bashing through to find the appropriate sites. Meanwhile back at the nursery Phil, Denise and Hazel set out pricking out 70 kohekohe. They were later joined by many of the planters who managed to transfer 170 kohekohe to PB3s.
Lois took a group for a walk along Tieke track then in no time at all it was time to head back towards  the wharf. A few detours on the way including a few opting to test the waters with a quick dip.
Was very impressed with the information sought by the Festival/Kiwi Burn group.  Not only did they want the names of all the plants they worked with but also asked the Skipper for the fuel consumption....for the record 33 litres! The group is keen to return to Motuihe.

Jill Bishop

Volunteer Ella with rebagged Kohekohe (photo Jill Bishop)

Friday 9 September DoC boat
Liz Philipp and her daughter Emily went out and worked in the nursery. They were lucky enough to see a large Tuatara.

Wednesday 14 September Dreamweaver trip

The Dreamweaver has a new engine and it makes for a quicker smoother ride as 23 Homeschool Duke of Edinburgh students and 10 Harcourts employees found out.  The odd shower gave way to a beautiful spring day as we planted a total of 175 trees including Puriri, Kohekohe, Kowhai, Kaihikatea, Manuka, Rewarewa, Koromiko and Akeake infilling between the Tieke track entrance and the pines on the ridge.  Mike dealt to a few invasive weeds but not on the scale of Colin, David, Graeme and the weeding team who thrashed away towards the flax line above Ocean beach.  Doris, Jeanette, Phil and Diane rebagged and fertilised 150 Kohekohe. A truly frightening amount of plastic was collected by Harcourts from Ocean beach.  Needless to say the sun came out and all had a lovely afternoon gliding home safe and sound. 
Simon Sheen

Harcourts volunteers clean up Ocean Beach.

The result of the clean up.

Friday 16 September Dreamweaver/DoC boat

Planting: Lois, Liz and I took about 20 Serko and Westpac volunteers into the Ocean Beach Valley which had been planted first in 2005. The group infill planted 236 trees, including 100 Kaihekatea, 60 Nikau, and 40 Taraire. About the same number returned for lunch at 1pm after working well in an awesome area.
Thanks everyone
John Laurence

The nursery activity involved re-bagging 50 further kohekohe. That completes the project, 310 kohekohe now sit at the far end of the shade house.In addition 27 prostrate titree were bagged into PB3/ 4. Also a whole tray of puriri were pricked out into PB3s. 
Phil Francis

Weeding: Another good trip today with groups from IAG, Serko and Westpac giving a total of around 54 volunteers plus supervisors. Weeders took 25 out to the paper clip at grid M6 to tackle large woolies and moth plants. Was quite funny to hear the exclamations when they saw how big the weeds were and they finally understood why they had saws! Anyway they manfully battled through gorse to cleave said weeds leaving many in their wake. They were all exhausted, so a good day all round. 
Mike Sumner

Sunday September 18 Red Boat Trip

29 volunteers including 9 leaders had a very satisfying, productive day in the sunshine. The planting, led by Julie and Emma was difficult with kikuyu having to be cleared back to make space for the plants. A total of 61 infill trees were planted between the Ranger's house and the wool shed including Coastal Mahoe, Pohutukawa, Manuka, Toetoe, and Mahoe. Around the pond a further 19 trees were planted, Kahikatea, Putaputaweta and Kowhai. Bella led a weeding team clearing the planting area of Woolly Nightshade, Moth plant and Rhamnus. Jackie and Lois led a track team that achieved all the track signs cleaned and the clearing of approximately one third of the drains. In the nursery Phil and Chris had a sort out, moving and reorganizing plants. Brian continued with the plastic house job. A great group of volunteers, cheerful and very positive. 

Fiona Alexander 

Bella, Jackie, Emily and Fiona planting shade trees around the pond. (photo Lois Badham)

Wednesday 21 September Dreamweaver trip

The forecast had been less than ideal but, as ever, the sun came out on a PWC group of 40 volunteers enjoying the increasingly rapid Dreamweaver (40mins).  Phil took a trailer load of plants to the top of Ricoh valley where David and Simon helped organise 235 plantings:
20 pohutukawa, 50+ mahoe( none left), 50 ake ake , 5 puriri (soft in the bag), 5  karaka ( some with just a growing tip), 5 taraire, 25 koromiko, 20 kowhai, 50 manuka / kanuka ( mainly manuka ) 
Colin and Graeme led a small weeding group that did great things further towards the southern beach.  Most of the team did a wharf beach clean and tried to pick up some of the thousands of expanded polystyrene balls smothered over the Ocean beach approach.  Well done.  The sun came out for a very pleasant trip home all safe and well.

Simon Sheen/Phil Francis

I hope DoC is carrying out an investigation to find out where the polystyrene balls came from. Surely someone should be held to account for pollution like that. 


Friday 30 September DoC boat
On this very wet day, Rosey Buchan and Fiona went to the island with 3 DoC staff who were doing a survey of tracks and signage.  Rosey did a stock take of the first aid kits which is a big job as there are 10 kits. Fiona worked on the BBQ trying unsuccessfully to get it to go but did identify the problem.
Fiona Alexander