Hibiscus Coast Reserve Projects

Hibiscus Coast Branch of Forest and Bird has been actively involved in the maintenance and restoration of six local Reserves: Raroa, Karaka Cove, Matakatia, Eaves Bush, Stillwater Spit, and Crocodile Island.


Raroa Reafforestation Project

Contact Peter Pearce ph 09 424 769709 424 7697 or email pipearce@xtra.co.nz

Since 2003 we have managed to restore native planting to over an acre of land in the middle of a mainly urban landscape. There were some natives there that had been planted about 40 years previously on c.10% of the site. These have been left intact and the rest of the site planted out with consideration given to a local population of ornate skinks.

The trees have eventually started to get to a good height in most places and have defeated many of the weeds and grasses that dominated previously. Some large exotics have been left on the site as they provide roosting/nesting for some birds, including tui and we think ruru again. It has been difficult working in an impoverished soil and with limited access to water we have lost a lot of plants in their early stages. Perseverance paid off and now we have the beginning of what will become known as a bush reserve. We have had a lot of advice and assistance from the Auckland Council (Rodney Council and the ARC) and DOC. A lot of learning has taken place.

Raroa Reserve is another urban stop in the North-West Wildlink for birds moving from the predator free sanctuaries at Tiritiri Matangi and Shakespear Park.

Raroa FOrest and Bird Revegetation Project

 

We would like to express our gratitude to Rotary Whangaparaoa, the former Rodney District Council, the former Auckland Regional Council, Auckland Council, and an anonymous donor, for their generous support of the reafforestation of Raroa Reserve.


 


Matakatia Scenic Bush Reserve

Contact Philip Wrigley ph 09 427 899609 427 8996 or email phil.w@xtra.co.nz

The Matakatia Scenic Reserve is a 1.5 hectare Council-owned area of bush running from the sea at Matakatia Bay up through steep gullies and rising ground amongst residential developments to near the ridgeline of the Whangaparaoa Peninsula. It is adjacent to other bushland on a cliff top esplanade reserve and on private land, some of which has bushlot covenants or, in one case, is protected private land under the Reserves Act. Its special character arises from its three distinct vegetation types of puriri/kohekohe-dominated coastal forest, gumland scrub and pohutakawa clad cliff faces that extend from the water’s edge. An entranceway is located on Beauvoir Ave, though no formal tracks exist.

Hibiscus Coast Forest and Bird have been involved in the maintenance of Matakatia Reserve for many years.  With the Auckland Council and The Matakatia Working Group, over a number of volunteer work sessions, good progress has been made in removing or containing the principal weeds of arum lily, pampas, wild ginger, asparagus fern, monkey apple, loquat & gorse. Other significant milestones have been the marking of the eastern boundaries with bollards and the laying of pest bait stations. Some planting has been done using seedlings from the immediate vicinity. A start has been made on surveying the botany of the reserve. Neighbours of the reserve have been kept informed through newsletters and have volunteered time for weedbusting and planting.

Matakatia Scenic Reserve is one of the first urban stops in the North-West Wildlink for birds moving from the predator free sanctuaries at Tiritiri Matangi and Shakespear Park.



 


Alice Eaves Scenic Reserve (Eaves Bush)

Contact Laurie Rands Ph (09)  426 3122(09)  426 3122 or email frankandlaurie@randsclan.com

Eaves Bush volunteers from left: Spencer Drinkwater, Dennis Wait, Laurie Rands, Mandy Hebben and Wyn Shergold

Eaves Bush volunteers from left: Spencer Drinkwater, Dennis Wait, Laurie Rands, Mandy Hebben and Wyn Shergold

Eaves Bush is a fine example of a mature northern New Zealand kauri/podocarp forest, forming a prominent landscape feature at the north end of Orewa. The family of the late Alice Eaves generously donated the reserve to the nation in 1960, to be administered by the Council. It was very fortunate that this magnificent forest was substantially preserved by a number of owners and that it has been saved from the ravages of fire, unlike most of the surrounding areas.

Botanical surveys under the auspices of the Wainui Historical Society identified at least 80 different native species of trees or shrubs, five species of orchid, three of lycopods, and 33 varieties of ferns, plus other plant life of mosses and liverworts. No formal dating of trees has been undertaken. However, informed persons estimate the old hollow kauri tree to be 800 years old, the oldest tree in the reserve and the oldest kauri tree on the Hibiscus Coast.

Kaka at Eaves Bush Oct 2013. Photo: Philip Wrigley

Kaka at Eaves Bush Oct 2013. Photo: Philip Wrigley

The Lions and Forest and Bird members have an ongoing programme to maintain tracks, signs, and undertaking predator control for possums and rats. Public work days are regularly held, primarily to attack weed infestations. The predator control programme, targeting possums and rats, has been extended up the Nukumea catchment to improve control over the reinvasion of pests into the reserve. Predator control and monitoring is also being undertaken at nearby Puriri Avenue Reserve to the south, as this was a refuge for possums and rats from which they could reinvade Eaves Bush. This has been very successful, leading to proliferation of birdlife there – especially tui, kereru (wood pigeons) and fantails.

There is hope that rare species of birds can be reintroduced to Eaves Bush in the future once it can be demonstrated that predators have been excluded or reduced to acceptable numbers. The Auckland Council continues to supply the possum/rat bait Brodifacoum.

We appreciate your interest and support. Workdays are held on the first Saturday morning of each month between 9 and 12 am, with morning tea at 10.30. All welcome.

We are grateful for the financial assistance provided by the Lions Club Activities Fund, the Rodney District Council and the 1990 Commission, for work at Eaves Bush.


 

Crocodile Island, Orewa Estuary

Spencer Drinkwater and William Wrigley brave the mud at Crocodile Island.<br>Photo: P. Wrigley.

Spencer Drinkwater and William Wrigley brave the mud at Crocodile Island.<br>Photo: P. Wrigley.

Crocodile Island is a small sand island with re-generating bush in the Orewa Estuary, not far off the Orewa College grounds and accessible by foot at low tide. Hibiscus Coast Forest and Bird have kept an eye on it for at least the last twenty years with small groups removing weeds and undertaking occasional plantings. There are pest bait stations there monitored and refilled by volunteers associated with the Eaves Bush Appreciation Group.

In recent years weeding work by our volunteers has removed pampas from the island and cut out wattle. Vigilance is required for new seedlings. The Council has sprayed gorse. Manuka dominates one end of the island and flax is doing well. Plantings have struggled in the peaty soil, but natural regeneration is good with many seedlings of mapou and taupata. Some classic coastal species with limited distribution are present, including umbrella sedge and coastal ribbonwood and coastal tree daisy. The native herb toatoa is widespread.

The island is to be renamed Te Motu-o-Marae-Ariki under treaty settlement legislation to recognise the cultural significance of the estuary for Ngati Whatua of Kaipara.


Stillwater Spit

Contact Philip Wrigley ph 09 427 899609 427 8996 or email phil.w@xtra.co.nz

The fenced off breeding area on the Karepiro Bay foreshore with the Weiti River beyond. Note the encroaching pampas. Photo: P. Wrigley.The fenced off breeding area on the Karepiro Bay foreshore with the Weiti River beyond. Note the encroaching pampas.Photo: P. Wrigley.

Hibiscus Coast Forest and Bird has helped monitor the well known breeding area for the endangered NZ dotterel on the final, seaward, spit at Stillwater, close by the Okura Walkway. One of our local members there, Martin Sanders, has been keeping an eye on the spit each breeding season since 2005. With help from the Council and Peter Buckley (manager of the Stillwater camping ground) the most likely breeding area was fenced and pest traps put in place for the 2011/12 and -2012/13 breeding seasons. Three chicks resulted in the first season and at least five in the second. We have also made a start at removing pest weeds from the area, with the Council helping by spraying pampas.

There is a lot of natural beauty to the area, with Karepiro Bay on one side and the Weiti estuary on the other. The seven spits between Stillwater village and the bay are a fascinating geological aftermath of the rising sea levels of the last seven thousand years. Storms shift vast amounts of sand, changing the topography, and there are vast tidal mudflats. There is an unusual mix of land ownership and management. The Stillwater end of the Okura walkway is private land, with the Council owning a segment at the mouth of the Weiti. The Department of Conservation manages the walkway and the Crown-owned Okura Reserve. The walkway is popular for dog owners, which is of concern for the dotterels.

There is plenty to be done in monitoring the dotterels and restoring the native vegetation.

Dotterel chicks at Stillwater, Feb. 2013. Photo: M. Sanders.

Dotterel chicks at Stillwater, Feb. 2013. Photo: M. Sanders.

Karaka Cove

Karaka Cove was the first local reserve to have a pest control plan put into action, with Auckland Council supplying all the traps. At the end of January 2014 volunteers set out 23 bait stations and within three days the first possum was trapped; by the end of March traps had already caught 8 possums at the Weiti River end of the reserve. By September Pauline Smith reported that over a 20-week period 600 rat baits were taken from Karaka Cove bait stations and 16 possums were caught there in the same period, in just one Timms trap.

Volunteers continue to monitor the bait stations and trap lines.

Karaka Cove is well tracked, and has a very large Kauri tree in the gully. It is definitely worth a walk! (access is from Matheson Rd, Red Beach - see map).

If you want to join the group caring for Karaka Cove please contact Pauline Smith paulinesmith@xtra.co.nz