Briefs on Waiheke
Forest & Bird • Hauraki Islands
by Sue Fitchett - Co-secretary F&B
 

Wetlands

Members of our committee formed a subgroup called WIWI and although at present the subgroup is small, one big project undertaken has been a great success. This is the school wetland project in conjunction with Waiheke schools, particularly the High School.  A wetland area near the school, previously infested with a variety of weeds has been turned back into a thriving wetland.  Students have helped with planting and weed control.  Plant growth is excellent and work on a boardwalk has commenced.  It has received very favourable coverage from local media.


Branch owned reserves
Presently the branch has rangers for all three of its reserves.  In the last two years the Onetangi reserve has increased in size with the generosity of an adjoining neighbour who sold (with a special discount and conditions) their land to the Society.  This has allowed new vegetation planting to occur and increased the potential pest management coverage in that area.  The Atawhai Whenua reserve (near Matiatia) was affected by several serious slips during the huge dump of rain in January and some remedial work on tracks is being carried out there.  Pest management is by bait stations and the branch is experimenting with newer types of baits.


Community Outreach
The branch faciliated a pest management workshop in 2010, which included a range of speakers and material.  It continues to encourage landowners to carry out pest management on private land by selling bait at the branch’s weekly market stall.  The market stall, also, sells forest and bird products and displays conservation material.


Weed Trust
The branch’s Weed Trust, which operates as an independent contractor to the private and public sector has been focusing on moth plant and willow reduction in the early part of this year.


Kauri PTA
Waiheke is still free of this disease, according to all surveys, and as a branch we have been working strenuously with Auckland Council biosecurity to draw the public’s attention to the disease and ways of preventing its spread to our island. 


Onetangi Reserve Cottage
This beautiful, solid little cottage at the edge of our reserve on Scott Terrace continues to be fully booked during summer.  The branch continues to upgrade and maintain facilities at the cottage and the charges per night remain well under the average nightly rental in other visitor accomodation on the island.  The committee contact for the cottage is Robin Griffiths; email - brian.griffiths04@gmail.com


Submissions
Submissions on various matters from local development projects to local and national relevant political issues continue to dominate the branch’s work agenda.  The burden of these have increased over the last two years with the change to the Super City and major issues affecting the Hauraki Gulf and surrounding areas e.g. the possibility of mining etc.