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News Archive - 2016 and 2015

Traditional End of Year Picnic 2016

Traditional End of Year Picnic 2016

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End of year picnic 2016 - 3 December 2016

The traditional end of year picnic at Kowhai Grove, postponed for a week following bad weather, was held in bright sunshine.

Aotea College Nursery - 8 November 2016

Work at the Aotea College nursery is winding up for the year.  November 24 (10 am to 12 noon) will be the last of the regular Thursday sessions for potting on new seedlings.

THANK YOU to Aotea College for the improvements made to the nursery access.  The upgraded steps now have a handrail, and there is a gravel pathway from the steps to the nursery gate.

Rimu tree planted by Fanny and Claire

Rimu tree planted by Fanny and Claire
What is it like now ... after 9 year's growth?

French friends visiting NZ - 8 November 2016

Anyone who remembers the two French girls, Fanny and Claire, who worked for Friends of Maara Roa doing an internship in 2007 is invited to catch up with them when they are here, staying with Des and Libby Drummond on 19th and 20th December 2016.  The girls planted numerous trees, including two specimen rimus.  To catch up with the girls, contact Libby. 

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

See various items in our 2007 News Archive:

Creek bed filled with Tawa and Kohekohe seedlings. Thanks, possum control team.

Tawa and Kohekohe seedlings

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Behind the scenes - running the baitlines - 8 November 2016

A shout out to those volunteers whose work is invisible but essential: the team who make sure our nine bait lines are regularly loaded to keep down possums and other pest animals.

The current crew are Glenys Evans, Paul Guiniven and Kim Livingstone.

On the evidence of baits taken, and a significant reduction in possum damage, their work is making a big impact.

See what recovery is possible with fewer possums around to graze ... 2013 - Positive signs of recovery

Thank you, team, your year-round running of the baitlines is much appreciated.

2016's successful planting season ends - tree care begins - 8 November 2016

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Thanks to our energetic volunteers (including a 'superman' contribution from Kim Livingstone), 2000 new trees have been planted.  This brings the 2016 planting season to an end.

The core planting team for 2016 have been Brenda Johnston, Sef Truyens, Des Drummond, Royce Johnston, Jonathan Boyes, Kim Livingstone, along with Mike and Kathy Peers, Paul and Sue Guiniven, Mel Tyson, Liza Drummond and Dawn Johnston, with the welcome assistance of a range of occasional helpers.

Thanks, everyone!

Tree care activities now take over until planting begins again in June 2017.  Tree care is the essential work that makes sure new trees survive and thrive, especially in their first two years.  Tree care involves:

  • Checking the health of all newly planted trees.
  • Replacing protective plastic sleeves if necessary.
  • Clearing weeds such as gorse, adding mulch or support stakes when needed.
  • Creating "light wells" by removing overgrowth.
  • Possum control - a year-round project.

New Car Park Entrance - 15 July 2016

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Two recent photos that show the new entrance to a carpark on Takapu Road, Tawa, which incorporates a viewing point for the Cannons Creek bridge construction.  There is no longer any access to the Takapu Track or Maara Roa covenant from this point as earthworks are underway.  New access paths will be constructed to pass under the Transmission Gully motorway when construction is complete.

AGM - 11 July 2016

Jim Lynch, QSM

AGM Guest Speaker:
Jim Lynch, QSM

AGM Guest speaker

Our AGM Guest speaker was Jim Lynch, QSM, who was instrumental in establishing the Karori Sanctuary (now Zealandia).

Groups like Friends of Maara Roa make Wellington a biodiversity leader, Jim told us in his informative and interesting presentation titled 'The changing biodiversity of Wellington'.

Take a bow, everyone who has worked with us since 2000!

New Committee

Sef Truyens was re-elected as chair of Friends of Maara Roa as was Libby Drummond as secretary, Keith Nicoll as Treasurer and members Paul Guiniven, Brenda Johnston and Mel Tyson.  Janet Tyson joins the committee as newsletter editor.  Jeremy Paterson and Wayne Boness represent Greater Wellington Regional Council.  There is room for at least one more.  The committee meets every six weeks for a short agenda followed by supper.  If you are interested, our 'go-to' person for all enquiries is Libby Drummond. 

Andy Jinks, Neil and Juliet Bellingham discuss the merits of some plastic plant pots we were trying out in the Nursery.

Neil and Juliet Bellingham, 2013
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Farewell Neil and Juliet Bellingham

Juliet Bellingham's decision to stand down from the committee at the AGM, and to hand over preparation and distribution of the newsletter, marks the end of an era for the Friends of Maara Roa.  Neil and Juliet are planning to move to Huntly to be closer to family.

For the first time since Friends of Maara Roa went from idea to reality, neither Neil or Juliet will have any formal involvement.  Neil, then a science teacher at Porirua College, was a founding member of the Friends

Both Neil and Juliet have contributed wholeheartedly to every activity, from setting up and relocating the nursery, guiding walks, to producing the newsletter and acting as main contact person.

We wish them well for the future.

First regular planting day of 2016 - 18 June 2016

First regular planting day of 2016

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We had lots of youthful energy on our first regular planting day of 2016, with a group of 30 from the environmental groups at Wellington Girls' College, and Scots College.  The Scots boys were part of a Sir Peter Blake environmental leadership group.

Many thanks for all the hard work put in - an excellent start on 2000 seedlings to be planted for 2016.

Transmission Gully Project Update - 22 March 2016

New Belmont Regional Park access

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To support construction of the motorway, a new entrance to Belmont Park has been created off Takapu Road.  This is about one kilometre south of the existing access.

This new entrance is now available for use and the previous access is closed to all but construction traffic.

Access to Belmont Regional Park will not be impacted during the construction of Transmission Gully, but it is important to note that work is now underway and users should steer clear of the designated construction zone.

[ Read full Update ... ]

See more TGP images on our Photo Gallery page

Transpower Volunteers - 18 February 2016

Transpower volunteers.

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Des got some Tree Care help from a group of Transpower volunteers.

Landcorp to quit Belmont Regional Park - 5 January 2016

Changes are coming to Belmont Regional Park this year. Inset: Sylvia Jenkin was a founding member of the Friends of Maara Roa.

State farmer Landcorp will leave Belmont Regional Park this year after working the park after it was established 30 years ago.

The company took ownership of the park from the Department of Lands and Survey in 1986 when the park was established, and grazed more under licence.

It has run a sheep and beef breeding operation in the park.

Landcorp has told the regional council it will not renew its grazing licence when it expires on June 30, 2016.

Read the full article: 5 January 2016, Hutt News :: Landcorp to quit Belmont Regional Park .

News Archive - 2015

After Floods - May 2015

These photos show the obstacles faced by Paul, our volunteer possum-line baiter, as he traversed his line up Cannons Creek some months after Tawa/Porirua's major flood event in May, 2015.

The Cannons Creek Lakes Reserve was severely inundated with silt after this event, and these photos show the extent of the upstream slips that contributed to this buildup.

All the paths around the lakes were covered in deep silt and many of the kahikatea plantings done by Friends of Maara Roa around the flax swamp were buried.

Paul's bait line after 2015 floods