News Archive - 2012


End of year picnic and 'Save the Nikau' awards presentation - 24 November 2012

End of year picnic - 2012

End of year picnic - 2012

Cody Chapman, Jack and Sophie Booth with Sylvia Jenkin

Cody Chapman, Jack and Sophie Booth with Sylvia Jenkin

Paul Guiniven with Sylvia Jenkin

Paul Guiniven with Sylvia Jenkin


More photos in the Photo Gallery

An excellent turnout of Friends and Supporters gathered for lunch in the Picnic Clearing in the Cannons Creek Lake Reserve on Saturday, following the Tree Care activites in the morning.

The Chairman of the Society, Sef Truyens extended a huge thanks to everybody who had planted, attacked the gorse, dug holes, helped in the Nursery, cut up cardboard collars, walked in our valley with friends, or helped us in any way.

And cheers also, to the workers from Greater Wellington who have maintained our tracks, and to the Community Services groups who have worked in the East Bowl.

Without the contributions of so many, our valley would not be developing into a sea of green.

Then, Sylvia Jenkin spoke of the need to "Save the Nikau" palms in this valley - and other fine mature forest trees - from likely destruction in the path of the Transmission Gully Motorway.

Then the winners of the "Save the Maara Roa Nikau" competition, Cody Chapman, Jack and Sophie Booth from Titahi Bay were called forward to receive the $100.00 prize for their excellent entry.  They got to plant the "Jenkin Nikau" in last October.

Then runner up, Paul Guiniven from Tawa, stepped up to receive his prize of $50.00.  Paul got to plant a kiekie near a new wetland site on Cascade Creek, as it had since been decided that it would be better to put more nikau in the site he had originally identified.


Item for GOPI Newsletter - 20 November 2012

Logo for 'Guardians of the Pauatahanui Inlet'

At the request of their editor, Sylvia Jenkin has written a piece for next month's publication of 'The Inlet', the newsletter of the Guardians of the Pauatahanui Inlet.

Sylvia has looked at the whole-of-the-valley situation and linked it to the Porirua Harbour, the harbour situation having been always the concern of the Guardians.

The Guardians were pioneers of protection really, and deserve credit for that, just as you all deserve credit for beginning the restoration of the forest of Cannons Creek valley.

We can all take pride in what we have achieved so far.

Read Sylvia's item, or read any of their newsletters.


Donation of 1800 brand new milk cartons - November 2012

We are delighted to have received a donation of 1800 brand new 1 litre milk cartons for our project from Goodman Fielder Ltd at Longburn, just west of Palmerston North.

Longburn is the branch of Goodman Fielder which processes the Meadowfresh milk you see on supermarket shelves in the cartons as well as in plastic containers.

We took a punt and approached them a few months ago, and we now have boxes of these tetrapaks which have not yet been used.

All we have to do is open them out, turn down the tops, and tape up the unsealed bases, and hey, presto, we have plant pots.  Making them this way will be a pleasure for all the Friends who have been working at our Glenview workshop and our Nursery.  (See The "Carton Cutters" get stuck in to making plant pots - 13 April 2013.)

Thank you so much, Goodman Fielder!


VUW International Exchange Students - 29 September 2012

'The first tree I've planted.' A smile of achievement!

'The first tree I've planted.'
A smile of achievement!


More photos in the Photo Gallery

Our planting team has enjoyed energetic support every fortnight, and good weather has meant excellent progress.  Jeff Chapman’s Outdoor Education students from Aotea College helped out recently.

A big group of International Exhange students from Victoria University came on 29 September, and planted at least 500 of the 1200 trees still to go.  They worked like Trojans!

The big group was split into smaller groups, each group with a Friends leader and working in a different area.

For instance, one group helped Andy with riparian and wetland planting at the Blue Drums wetland and stream side, getting to plant out flax, cabbage trees, pate, and swamp coprosma.

Brenda and Juliet had students helping them plant dianella on Broom Knoll.

(Links to more details about these trees are on our "What we plant and protect" webpage.)

Thank you, guys!  Please come again!


'Save the Maara Roa Nikau' Competition: We have a winner! - 17 September 2012

We have a winner!  The special 10-year-old "Jenkin nikau" palm is to be planted by the 3 children of the Chapman-Booth family, Titahi Bay, Cody (10), Sophie (8) and Jack (7).

Accompanied by Dad Jeff Chapman, they paddled upstream in the main Cannons Creek watercourse for 25 minutes to find a mature nikau, near which they could plant the new one.

They photographed it, and in their entry said why nikau were important especially for the Cannons Creek valley.

Their answers are all in their own words, and our judges, Sylvia Jenkin and Andy Jinks, with extra comments from Gillian Candler of Pukerua Bay and Robyn Smith of GWRC, decided they had met the requirements of the competition very well indeed.

The children now have to complete the exercise by making another expedition upstream, to plant the special "Jenkin nikau" and take more photos of it in place, to claim the prize of $100.00.

Seeing that Dad has told us they were so excited the first time that the three of them all stripped off and jumped into a pool in the Creek for a dip (in the middle of winter!) on the way home, they might just start a new fashion for this part of Belmont Regional Park while celebrating their planting of the nikau.

The planting has to take place by Labour Weekend, after which there will be a ceremony to award the prize.


Uncommon Kiekie to be planted - 17 September 2012

The judges of the 'Save the Maara Roa Nikau' competition decided to award a second prize.

The entry from Paul Guiniven, a long-time member of the Friends of Maara Roa gave an excellent and useful site description.

Only a few metres upstream from the Cannons Creek bridge on the Takapu Track, Paul's site not only is near a mature nikau palm, but has other seedling palms already growing there, clearly indicating its suitability for the species.

As there is only one "Jenkin nikau", Paul's prize, instead, includes the planting of a kiekie, plus $50.  This second prize was donated by Andrew Jinks - as he grew the kiekie at home.

Paul will get to plant the kiekie near the nikau palm site he identified, as it is equally suitable, with many mature forest trees nearby.  The kiekie species is possibly even more rare in Cannons Creek valley than the nikau.


Value of 'Save the Maara Roa Nikau' Competition - 17 September 2012

This competition has been very important to our restoration project.

Not only will the planting of a strong nikau seedling add to the numbers in the valley, but also the competitors have located excellent new micro-sites we can use for the planting of further nikau palms.

We have about 30 nikau ready to plant this year, and more coming on in our Nursery at Aotea College.

In 2007, about 50 nikau grown from seeds from Porirua Scenic Reserve (Colonial Knob) were planted on a site in the Cannons Creek Conservation Covenant: our first micro-site.

Now, by spreading more nikau into more new sites in the riparian Takapu Conservation Covenant's bushy gorge with its steep slopes, we are strengthening the bio-diversity (gene pool) as well as the numbers of this attractive species, thereby achieving a sustainable future for them.


'Give back to Mana' [electorate] - 18 August 2012

Kris Faafoi, MP for Mana - treeplanting for the Maara Roa project.

Kris Faafoi, MP for Mana - treeplanting for the Maara Roa project.


More photos in the Photo Gallery

On Saturday, as part of a "Give back to Mana" initiative, Kris Faafoi, MP for the Mana electorate, and a group of Labour supporters got digging helping with tree planting for the Friends of Maara Roa restoration project.  Kris had originally planned to be involved on the planting day, 'Matariki at Maara Roa - 7 July 2012', but family circumstances had forced a postponement.


Tree Nursery's Growing Unit reassembled - 11 August 2012

The Growing Unit - metal frame, table, shade curtains and plastic roof.

The Growing Unit - metal frame, table, shade curtains and plastic roof.


More photos in the Photo Gallery

Growing Unit - working bee members.

Growing Unit - working bee members: [L to R]
Back row: John Hodges, Paul Guiniven.
Middle: Sef Truyens, Andrew Jinks, John Gibbs.
In Front: Juliet Bellingham, Adrienne Gibbs, Keith Nicoll and Neil Bellingham.
Absent: Malcolm McEwan and John Hornblow.


More photos in the Photo Gallery

The Tree Nursery is back in action, after its shift to Aotea College, and we have more than 200 trees in the growing-on area mature enough to be planted this year.

But one very essential structure still needed to be re-erected at Aotea, and that was the 'Trees for Survival' Plant Growing Unit.

So, a working bee, followed by a barbecue was organised for Saturday, 11 August.  There was an excellent turnout of helpers.

The Growing Unit has a long metal table that holds all the seed trays for the nursery safely while the seeds germinate.  The metal frame above the table has shade curtains hung on it to protect the tiny shoots from both sun and wind, and finally there is an automatic watering system mounted under the plastic "roof" and connected to a tap nearby.

The table is used for all the potting-on work of the nursery, with the curtains moved to and fro to enable access.  This is where you can get your hands in the dirt! (or wear gloves if you are sensible.)

At the end of the day, the team of helpers were justified in looking pleased with their work - this essential equipment will now enable the Nursery to be fully functional.

It will be used by some of the students to grow vegetable seedlings as well as the Friends' Nursery team who tend the thousands of young native trees that will now be grown here, for many years we hope.


Possum lines reorganised and cleared - 31 July 2012

The value of the Possum Control Team is obvious to us all, seen particularly in the increase in bird life in the valley and the seedlings appearing among the growing trees everywhere.

Contractors sent recently by GWRC have done an excellent job of clearing the bait lines where practical, and repositioning some bait stations to avoid overgrown areas.

This reorganization will make the work of our team much more straightforward and successful we are grateful for the Council's support and help with this important part of our on-going conservation work.

Without pest control, much of our planting might be wasted, and natural revegetation impossible.

The Possum Control Team - One Man's Story

The Possum Control Team doesn't get much "press", but this year we decided that needed some attention.  So, photographer Cheng joined team member Tony, when he patrolled his bait lines one afternoon in May 2012.

We've combined Tony's story and Cheng's photos on a new page (also accessible from our Photo Gallery page), so view it here:
The Possum Control Team - One Man's Story


Totara for Mandela Day - 18 July 2012

Deputy High Commissioner for South Africa, Mr Madoda Ntshinga

Deputy High Commissioner for South Africa, Mr Madoda Ntshinga


More photos in the Photo Gallery

Our mid-week planters had a fabulous day with a group from the South African High Commission.

Two special totara were planted to celebrate Nelson Mandela's 94th birthday.

Deputy High Commissioner Mr Madoda Ntshinga explained that we were the first to celebrate Mr Mandela's birthday as the new day starts here in New Zealand.

Our enthusiastic volunteers planted 100 trees as well.

We are very thankful for your help! Everyones help contributes to the trees we get safely into the ground!

See the Kapi-Mana News article: Kapi-Mana News, 21 August 2012 :: Totara for Mandela Day


Mike Joy brings a strong message - 11 July 2012

Mike Joy, Massey University

AGM Guest Speaker:
Mike Joy,
Massey University


Who is Mike Joy?

Mike Joy brings a strong message at the Annual General Meeting on 11 July 2012.

Obviously a man with a passion to see more action by all of us in New Zealand, on all our waterways, Mike had us riveted as he presented graph after graph showing the increase in water pollution, the decrease in fish and other water creatures, the volumes of water taken for irrigation that are drying up rivers and lakes to further destroy spawning areas and bird habitats, the loss of most of the lowland wetlands right across our land - indeed, it is a sad record which contradicts the image of New Zealand as clean, green and pure.

The amount of available scientific research which Mike has gathered at Massey University is amazing, and provides an irrefutable argument that must be used to convince Government, landowners, corporations, and all of us ordinary folk, to educate, legislate, and work to get greater protection, and restoration, on our precious waters.

Compared with this "Big Picture" we were shown, our work in Belmont Regional Park seems small indeed, yet as our Chairman Sef Truyens presented our Annual Report to our members and to those who had come also to hear and meet Mike Joy, we can take some pride in what we as the Friends of Maara Roa continue to achieve by hard work and intelligent planning, knowing that there are many others who share our passion all over New Zealand.

Things are going to change.  They must.


Matariki at Maara Roa - 7 July 2012

Little hands learning to help.

Little hands learning to help.


More photos in the Photo Gallery

Another crate of seedlings to plant out.

Another crate of seedlings to plant out.


More photos in the Photo Gallery

This was a Community Planting Day supported by Greater Wellington Regional Council thanks Ross and Jeremy!

At least 500 trees were planted that day and some new planters were welcomed.

We are delighted with help from new volunteers who have come on regular planting days extra hands make a big difference!  Thanks so much, we hope to see you again.


'Save the Maara Roa Nikau' Competition - 7 July 2012

Jenkin Nikau

Jenkin Nikau


Competition conditions

Today saw the official launch by Sylvia Jenkin of the 'Save the Maara Roa Nikau' Competition.

A number of mature stands of nikau grow in the main valley of Cannons Creek.  Many can be seen from the Takapu Track, south of the bridge over the Creek.

Nikau are one of the slowest growing trees of New Zealand, taking up to 20 years to form a trunk, 30 to flower, and 50 to 60 years to be fully grown.

Unfortunately, it is possible some of our Maara Roa nikau may be destroyed in the construction of the proposed Transmission Gully motorway.

Part of the prize in this competition is the 'Jenkin Nikau' which germinated in 2002 on Colonial Knob (Porirua Scenic Reserve) and has since been grown at the Jenkin home, "Haven".

The winner's name and their photos of the planting site will be placed on this Maara Roa website and in the Society's records.


Visit by Aotea College students - 13 June 2012

Click on these thumbnails for larger images.

On Wednesday, 13 June 2012, the weather was ideal for the 40 Year 9 students with their 3 Phys-Ed teachers, all from Aotea College, who came to the valley for a 6-hour outdoor training trip, preparing for a camp they are going to later.

Maara Roa leaders Sylvia and Juliet spoke to the group about the history and restoration of the valley as they walked up to the bush.

The group completed the Maara Roa Loop Walk, having lunch on the way.

On their return, they got to do some planting to help the project - and in only 45 minutes, the students planted 200 trees - a very good effort!  Thanks!  Please come again.

Some of the students capped off the day by experiencing the Nature Walk.


Kohekohe fruiting well - 9 June 2012

Not far from one of the planting areas this year, high up on a ridge which suffered badly in the 2003 fire, Friends of Maara Roa have been excited to find a stand of about 15 big Kohekohe trees.

In particular, photos were taken of one really substantial tree, laden with bunches of fruit from its top (about 5 metres above us) to almost the ground.

Strangely, this was the only one currently fruiting others had finished, while one was still trying to flower!

Seeing such a quantity of kohekohe fruit says much about the on-going success of the volunteers doing possum baiting.  Kohekohe is "ice-cream with a cherry on top" dessert for possums, so if there is lots of fruit, there must be fewer possums.


Arbor Day - 9 June 2012

2012's Arbor Day planting site.  Unfortunately no pre-dug holes at this site!

2012's Arbor Day planting site. Unfortunately no pre-dug holes at this site!


More photos in the Photo Gallery

A small group of regulars celebrated Arbor Day on the Maara Roa project.

Unfortunately their planting site did not have any pre-dug holes, so they had to take their spades with them!


Preparation for Tree Planting Season - 3 June 2012



Click on these thumbnails for larger images.



More photos in the Photo Gallery

One of the planting sites for 2012 is high up on the last ridge that was burnt in the 2003 fire.

After the fire, the gorse regrew and by this year (2012) was 2 metres high.

The gorse has been cut, and cleared away downslope to become mulch, and the area sprayed to prevent regrowth.

Gorse clearance work has been done by the Porirua Canoe Kayak Club as a fundraiser.

In the last 3 years the club has also hired a posthole borer and pre-dug thousands of holes for us.  They've done so again this year.

The result is a honeycomb of holes just waiting to be filled!

Having the holes dug really speeds up the work for every volunteer no more holes to dig (bring a trowel instead of a spade), and twice as many trees planted!

Thanks, guys!


Article in Kapi-Mana News :: Nursery on move - Cardboard milk cartons needed - 22 May 2012

The Native Tree Nursery used to grow trees for the Maara Roa restoration project is being re-established at Aotea College.  Redevelopment at Porirua College precipitated the move.

Read the Kapi-Mana News article: Kapi-Mana News, 22 May 2012 :: Nursery on move - Cardboard milk cartons needed


Whiteheads in Cannons Creek - 16 May 2012

The following report from Nikki, a staff member from GWRC has created some excitement among Friends of Maara Roa.  The Whitehead (Popokotea) is uncommon, though birds sourced from Kapiti Island have been released in Karori Wildlife Sanctuary (2001-2002) and Mana Island (July 2010) [Source: Wikipedia (includes photos)].   Nikki says:

A colleague of mine came across two whiteheads in the bush near the nursery at Cannons Creek last week.  This is the first recent whitehead record I've heard of from Cannons Creek, but I'd be interested to know whether you or any other members of Maara Roa have seen them in the area before.

The two whiteheads were foraging with a flock of silvereyes, which made them a little hard to pick out.  The person who saw them did manage to get a passable photograph of one of the birds though.

PaulG has added to this, also reporting the presence of 2 whiteheads in the Takapu covenant area of Maara Roa about a month ago while they were out baiting a possum line.

Let's hope the whiteheads decide to stay!


'Red Shirt' Oracle Volunteers - 20 April 2012

'Red Shirt' Oracle volunteer Lucy helping to place a plastic sleeve as protection against hares and rabbits - 20 April 2012

'Red Shirt' Oracle volunteer Lucy helping to place a plastic sleeve as protection against hares and rabbits


More photos in the Photo Gallery

On Friday 20 April we were fortunate to have the help of a group of volunteers from IT firm Oracle, working at clearing and releasing, putting hare and rabbit protection and collars on trees along the track.

As it was during school holidays, we had 10 children from four families along with parents, a group of 16, on a beautiful sunny day.

Lots got done, everyone had an enjoyable time, and afterwards, Des and Neil took the group for a walk to the Rata Clearing and the waterfall.

Thank you Tanya and the 'Red Shirt' Oracle team for choosing Maara Roa for your volunteer day!


Cannons Creek Pa Harakeke (Flax) Clean Up - 14 April 2012

Flax Care - before and after - 14 April 2012

Flax Care - before and after


More photos in the Photo Gallery

Flax Care - rubbish pile - 14 April 2012

Flax Care - rubbish pile

Friends of Maara Roa have often worked in the harakeke (flax) area above the Cannons Creek Lakes Reserve.

So when the local weavers requested help on a cleanup weekend 14-15 April 2012, our volunteers were encouraged to join in on our regular Tree Care day on Saturday, 14 April.

To quote the organisers: "The pā harakeke needs a bit of tender loving care, to clear, clean and cut harakeke to revitalise the pā harakeke and remove diseased plants."

A whole heap of work got done!

PS:  Before this cleanup weekend, Corrections had been in around the flax and done a huge job getting rid of the convolvulus which had "taken over".  Thanks, guys!


Cardboard milk cartons urgently needed - 12 April 2012

Used milk cartons (cardboard ones) make excellent plant pots.

Used milk cartons (cardboard ones) make excellent plant pots.

Recycled milk cartons (cardboard) are trimmed, drainage holes added, and are then used by the Tree Nursery as plant pots.

The Nursery urgently needs more of these clean, used, 1 litre milk cartons, the cardboard ones, that is.

On average, 5000 seedlings are planted each year and each needs to have a pot!

Anyone saving these cartons can drop them off at the working bees held at Glenview School on 2nd Saturday each month (10-12noon), or at the Nursery at Aotea College each Thursday (10-12noon).  If you are collecting cartons, do you need help with arranging delivery? Please phone Libby on (04) 235.9449 or email info@MaaraRoa.org.nz.


Tree Nursery shifted to Aotea College - 12 April 2012

Fabulous new nursery facilities that are fenced, include a storage shed, a shade house and plenty of room.

Fabulous new nursery facilities that are fenced, include a storage shed, a shade house and plenty of room.

In the middle of shifting, everything is everywhere!

In the middle of shifting, everything is everywhere!

The Friends of Maara Roa Tree Nursery is now based at Aotea College.

Re-development at Porirua College has reached the courtyard we have been using in recent years, necessitating the complete shift of our Nursery.  We are very thankful for our long association with Porirua College and wish staff and students well in the continuing development of their new campus.

We are delighted to announce the re-establishment of our Tree Nursery in great facilities at Aotea College.  They have an under-used horticulture area that includes fencing, storage, a shade house and plenty of room.  How fabulous is that?

Principal Kate Gainsford has given us a warm welcome and Finance and Operations Manager Annie Jackson has been wonderfully helpful.  They both see our new relationship as a win-win situation.  We have also been encouraged by Trees for Survival, who sponsor our Plant Growing Unit, to develop cooperation with Aotea College.

We had to move all our seedling trees, equipment, benches, tools etc before Easter [6 April] as demolition of the building at Porirua College was due to start.

After a huge effort by Friends and helpers, EVERYTHING HAS BEEN SHIFTED to our new Aotea Nursery.

We have already had an energetic working bee to clean up the shade house and storage shed there.  Heartfelt thanks to everybody who helped, including the clean-up team who helped at Aotea.

There is still plenty to do, but the Nursery team are enthusiastic and optimistic about the future.

Where: drive in to Aotea College, Okowai Road, Porirua; first right takes you into a large parking area by the Auditorium our Nursery is down the slope to the right of the building.

Our regular "Potting On" sessions continue every Thursday, from Thursday 19 April, but now meeting at Aotea College, from 10am.  Any help is welcome, or just call in to admire our new home.


'Before and After' - Guided Walk - Cancelled! - 3 March 2012

The walk was cancelled due to the appalling weather.


'Meet at the Top' - Guided Walk - 19 February 2012

Well, we did all "Meet At The Top" and it was great!

An excellent turn out of fit and interested hikers reached the saddle between the Korokoro Stream headwaters and the Cannons Creek headwaters, on Sunday afternoon 19 February 2012.

This was an Event which had been planned since September 2011.  One of the aims of the expedition was to reinforce the need for a bush and bird corridor across the hills from Korokoro to Cannons Creek.

The walk involved leading members of the Wellington branch of Forest and Bird, along with our Guides Brenda Johnston and Glenys Evans conducting 15 others from the Takapu Park Entrance, all the way up the open valley floor then up steep ridges to the top of the Belmont Hills.

There they met the other group, led by Forest and Bird (Lower Hutt) and the Korokoro Environmental Group, who started their climb from the opposite side of the Park, at Stratton Street Entrance.

Read more about the walk, the reason for it, and view the photos in our Photo Gallery item: "Meet at the Top" - Guided Walk - 19 February 2012

See the press coverage for this walk: 13 March 2012, Kapi-Mana News :: Group explores green corridor


'The Real Cannons Creek' - Guided Walk - 29 January 2012

The 'Real Cannons Creek' guided walk - 29 January 2012

Cannons Creek - as a bush stream

The 'Real Cannons Creek' guided walk - 22 March 2009

Cannons Creek - in concrete pipes and channels

The 11 folk who came to find out about the human history of Cannons Creek itself, enjoyed the easy walk on a warm and cloudy day.

Our three Guides, Dorothy, Gillian and Sylvia led them down the slopes of the dam to show the urban impact on Cannons Creek.

What starts as a pretty bush stream unfortunately gets confined and constrained in concrete pipes and channels.

Working their way back upstream, the group passed the man-made ponds with their ducks and raupo, designed to hold back excess water, but gradually becoming silted up.

Then, walking uphill again, through restoration plantings, to the bridge on the Takapu Track.

Here's 'The Real Cannons Creek' with its clean and shaded waters, treeferns and handsome fuchsia trees.

"We had no idea this bush and stream existed!"

Although Gillian had gone on ahead with the energetic children, the two groups met up again at the snack stop.

After a snack, everyone entered the bush for the Nature Walk, and safely dropped down to admire the larger trees, taking note of all the vines and ferns now growing in the heart of the bush.

Then last, but not least all viewed the little side stream and its cascade, aptly named Cascade Creek.

As usual, the most frequent comment was, "We had no idea this bush and stream existed!"

And to add to the day's memories, we have acrostic poems written by some about their Maara Roa experience.

View more photos in our Photo Gallery item: 'The Real Cannons Creek' - Guided Walk - 29 January 2012