Aorangi Restoration Trust 2014 Review
Notes from the Chair, Clive Paton
The past twelve months have seen many gains in our quest to improve the Mauri of the Aorangi mountains and coastline.
A joint arrangement between ART, Greater Wellington Regional Council, Department of Conservation, Iwi, South Wairarapa hunters and Ospri (AHB) has resulted in a predator control plan called ‘Haumaku kia Haumoko’ which is designed to lower the level of cats, rats, ferrets, stoats, possums and hedgehogs. Deer-repellent 1080 is to be used more regularly, i.e., every three years in smaller amounts with the focus now on biodiversity gains rather than just possum control.
This joint venture has meant that ART can bring its long term goals of species reintroduction forward with a proposal to bring kaka and possibly weka back into the South Eastern corner of the forest park, in the hills behind White Rock.
Meanwhile, extending predator control around the edges of the park now means that trap lines are firmly established from Lake Ferry to Ngapotiki, along with many penguin nesting boxes.
Placement and checking of these is undertaken with the invaluable volunteer support of community groups from Martinborough and coastal communities.
The year ahead looks exciting. With some money in the kitty (care of DoC) we are looking at recruitment of a part-time manager to oversee all the trapping lines and act as backup to volunteers. We are on the lookout for a 4WD vehicle at a reasonable price to enable this manager to move around effectively and coordinate volunteers.
We will keep you posted regarding the kaka releases. This will be a significant moment for all to witness.
A special mention to some of the many who have made an outstanding contribution to success this year:
Andy Corser, a doctor from Marton who, with family and friends, runs the Palliser Lighthouse to Ngapotiki line.
Dave Lawrence and ‘Dad’s Army’ who run the Pinnacles line and have built hundreds of penguin nesting boxes.
The Undulators, a group of runners who journeyed from Mangatoetoe to the Pinnacles – 70 of them this year –have helped the trust with funds, which is much appreciated – “you are not weak”!
Mark St Clair and his firm Hill Young Cooper who have been helping us with funding. Thanks guys.
The Lyster boys – provision of rabbits for trap bait.
The team from Kawakawa Station, who have set up and run a predator trap line all the way up the Kawakawa Stream.
Johnny Bissell of DoC, who organised (and seemed to be quite chuffed by) the culling of over 1,000 goats in the South West and Waihora catchment of the Aorangis. This is a big step in our goal to eradicate goats from the forest park.
On a final note, this year we will look at establishment of a ‘Friends of Aorangi Restoration Trust’ entity – though the acronym may be a problem…
Very best for now,
Chair, Aorangi Restoration Trust