News Archive - 2007

Plantings for 2007 - reporting November 2007

Neil says that we have planted another 4,000 trees this year thanks to our regular volunteers and to the help from a number of groups.

Tawa College did very good work when they came for four Tuesday afternoons during October.

French Students - reporting November 2007

The French girls' internship was probably the highlight of 2007.

Many thanks especially to those who provided wonderful hospitality to the girls.

Thanks also to Sylvia Jenkin and Neil Bellingham for the fabulous programme they devised for them.

We got commendations from all the places where the girls worked.

Their hard work and happy personalities appealed to us all.

Now back in France after touring the South and North Islands they have recently written condolences after France beat the All Blacks.

Fanny and Claire did a very good report on Maara Roa which is held by Sylvia Jenkin.  This report can be borrowed from her.

Read the Dominion Post, 1 September 2007 article about the girls' experiences.

Tracks Meeting - 28 September 2007

A meeting on 28 September was held to review and discuss Greater Wellington's proposed tracks on this side of the Belmont Regional Park.  Maps were provided.

Whitby people will be pleased that two new entrances are proposed for them, beyond proposed new residential areas up Duck Creek.  They will enable access between the Takapu Entrance and Whitby, connecting with Cannons Creek on the way.

Our (2000) proposal for a track from Glenview area to the bridge on the Takapu Track, and our proposed Nature Walk (2007) in the bush, are included.

The meeting still preferred two other bush tracks from the "Cannons Creek Restoration and Development Plan", to an alternative offered on their map, so we will keep talking.

Importantly: all the tracks on our side need to serve two purposes: recreation, and farming (including stock movement) in an area to be crossed (one day) by Transmission Gully Motorway (TGM), and two Link Roads, one from Whitby and one from eastern Porirua.

The right place to create underpasses must be established now, before TGM construction starts.

It's going to be interesting - especially meeting cattle beast or two sheltering same windy day, halfway through a tunnel under a four-lane highway.  Guess who will retreat first?

We have sent back a report, and suggested routes were indicated with comments.

It will be sometime before anything happens as the Belmont Regional Park review has been delayed yet AGAIN.

Belmont Regional Park - review update

Greater Wellington Regional Council has told us that the draft of the Management Plan will be ready to go to the councillors in September and if they approve the draft will be published in October.

Submissions will be gathered in November or December with the hearings possibly right on Christmas.

Already decided is the status of the whole park as a recreational reserve with no extra protection for the conservation covenants.

This is a real worry since even buildings and roads can be constructed provided they can be defined as recreation.

Concerns have already been expressed by the Friends of Belmont Regional Park that there has been no consultation about the best status for the area that was formerly Landcorp Farm.

Now that the farm has passed into Greater Wellington Regional Council hands, the one-time "Conservation Covenants" covenanted to DOC no longer exist legally.

On publicly owned land, parks have "Reserve" status usually either "Recreational Reserve" or "Scenic Reserve".

The protections under "Scenic Reserve" status give similar recognition to native forests as "Conservation Covenants" do.

We have already urged Greater Wellington Regional Council to give all the "Conservation Covenants" a status of "Scenic Reserve" - this applies to over 80 hectares of the Farm.

So far, no progress on "Reserve" status.

French Students - August 2007

Fanny and Claire are about to finish their internship with us after 10 very valuable and interesting weeks with us.

In that time they worked really well.

Besides us, they worked at Leacroft nurseries, Pauatahanui, Queen Elizabeth II Park and three lifestyle properties in Takapu Road.

In some cases they stayed with their hosts for a night or two.

For them the highlights were the two island experiences on Mana and Matiu-Somes where they saw true sanctuary conservation work.

They visited Karori Sanctuary, Otari, Pikarere Farm and Te Papa.

Des and Libby took them to see the seals at Palliser Bay and the birds at Mount Bruce.

We appreciated their enthusiasm and how they just got stuck into the tasks they were given, so learning a lot about New Zealand conservation practice, and how we as a voluntary group operate.

Planting Heritage Trees - 18 August 2007

On August 18th in the Cannons Creek Covenant area we had the first planting of heritage trees: Kahikatea, Kohekohe, Matai, Miro, Northern Rata and Rimu.

Some vegetation species will continue to be planted between the heritage trees.

This will continue for the next three fortnightly planting sessions.

It was wonderful to see the large numbers of seedlings particularly Kohekohe and Titoki sprouting up in the area.

This demonstrates the importance of good possum control in the continued health of the covenant.

Kowhai Grove

John Hodges sprayed gorse and other weeds in the Kowhai Grove.

This has enabled the "Oldies Group" led by Sylvia Jenkin to finish monitoring, releasing and mulching the trees in this area.

Project K

Many thanks to the 9 or 10 young people from Mana College and their supervisor who all worked well helping with planting.

Helpers from Leaders' Forum - 28 July 2007

Aspiring Leaders - 28 July 2007

Aspiring Leaders - 28 July 2007

20 young people were selected from the 160 participants of the Leaders' Forum to do planting on July 28th at Maara Roa.

We were particularly lucky that the rain stopped in time for the group to begin work as they were outstanding planters.

Thanks also to the Friends who assisted with the group.

AGM Report - 19 July 2007

A very full annual report was presented by our chairman, Keith Nicoll.

Fanny Berger and Claire Carbou, the two French students gave us a fine presentation showing us their families and where they came from in southern France.

Our main speaker: Peter Matcham, convenor of the Friends of Belmont Regional Park spoke about their group's aims and objectives to promote both enjoyment and protection of what the Park has to offer.  His talk was illustrated with many interesting photos.

French Agronomy students from Toulouse - June 2007

Fanny Berger Claire Carbou

Fanny Berger [top] and Claire Carbou

Read the article about the girls' experiences - Dominion Post, 1 September 2007 .

Welcome to Claire Carbou and Fanny Berger from ENSAT Institute in Toulouse, France.

Aged 20 and 21 years respectively, they are agronomy students finishing the second year of their degree.

They are here to do their practical internship - their work experience with us.

They arrived on 16th June and are with us until 24th August.

They then have a little time left to see other parts of New Zealand before returning to France, in time to start their final year.

The internship programme commenced with an orientation session with the Committee and support folk on Sunday 17th June, a guided walk around Maara Roa on Monday, all day at Otari-Wilton bush on Tuesday, a visit to our Nursery on Thursday and will join our tree planters on Saturday mornings.

Each week will be busy as we have arranged other experiences as diverse as Matiu-Somes Island, Queen Elizabeth Park, Pikarere Farm and Leacock's Nursery - all so they can see the best of what is happening in consevation and land usage around this region.

Adopt-a-Spot plantings for 2007

With only two schools planting on their sites last year, the five principals were consulted, and with help from Tina Mullins (the Horticultural Officer for "Keep Porirua Beautiful" and Porirua City Council) it was made easier for the schools to try again.

Cannons Creek, Glenview and Russell Schools all undertook "Water Quality" studies in the Cannons Creek Stream, under the guidance of the Greater Wellington Regional Council staff.

See "Adopt-a-Spot" - efforts, press publicity and photos from previous years.

Donations from "Keep Porirua Beautiful"

"Keep Porirua Beautiful" has donated 4 spades, 1 grubber and 1 lopper.

These provide extra tools for students and community working bees.

They also gave $200 towards the production of information inserts (leaflets) on how businesses can help us, the Adopt-a-Spot programme, and the Human Birds programme.

We got $1900 to be used to buy 3,000 bamboo stakes plus fertiliser and potting mix for the nursery.

Thank you for this help.

Possum Bait "Lure" Message

Possum bait station with lure

Possum bait station with lure

Sick of having to clean out blocked and mouldy bait-stations all the time?  Want to kill more possums?

Possums can only smell your bait from about two metres away and probably couldn't see a black bait-station from further than one metre away.

Even when your bait-stations are emptied this could be by only one possum at a time.  Now that's not very effective.

If you want to bring in more possums to your baits from 100 metres away and more, Paul Guiniven can provide you with an ongoing source of free, scented, flour-based lure that you put over the tree by each bait-station.

Possums are curious beasts and will be attracted by the smell and colour of the lure which they can see in the dark.

The lure also contains milk powder that will stay on the tree even after rain, as well as icing sugar which they love to taste.

Call Paul if you would like to use the lure, to have those possums fighting each other to get to your bait-station!

Open Day at "Trees for Survival" native tree Nursery - 12 May 2007

About 50 people came to our Open Day at our Nursery at Porirua College.

We were pleased that our patron, the Hon Winnie Laban was able to open our Saturday morning event.

The College Principal Suzanne Jungersen, Porirua City Mayor Jenny Brash and Greater Wellington Regional Councillor Chris Laidlaw also spoke a few words.

Lots of our own members and helpers, plus folk from a few Conservation groups like Friends in Tawa Bush and the Friends of Belmont Regional Park, came.

Everyone enjoyed a lovely morning tea.

After viewing the Nursery, some visitors went on to Glenview School to see demonstrations of preparing milk cartons and cardboard collars, and some took the opportunity to view our plantings.

A great day; many thanks to all who helped and organised.

Wellys 2006
Sylvia Jenkin

Sylvia Jenkin: A former Presbyterian minister, she coordinates a core of 30 volunteers who have planted more than 14,000 native trees.

Sylvia Jenkin - Wellingtonian of the Year 2006 Award for Community Service

Congratulations to Sylvia Jenkin and also to Maara Roa Volunteers and the other community groups that she is involved with.

At the award presentation event there was a 1-minute presentation about each nominee, shown on the two big screens and introduced by Maggie Barry.

Sylvia's presentation had great photos of the Maara Roa project including the 2003 fire, our guides conductong walks, and tree planting activities.  A very accurate and pleasing presentation.

Sylvia hopes to build on this success in the hope that businesses and sponsors will take notice of our project in the future.

The Minister of Conservation, Chris Carter, wrote to congratulate us:

'This recognition will highlight the work your are doing and hopefully inspire others to become involved.
Please pass on my thanks to the volunteers who are continuing to assist with this valuable conservation work'.

Read the Dominion Post article on 5 January 2007 about Sylvia Jenkin and why she received this award.